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A cross-sectional study on prevalence, pattern, and perception of self-medication practices among medical students

T P Nirmal, Sandhyarani Javalkar, Poonam Naik, K M Akshaya.


Background: Self-medication is the use of medical products to treat self-recognized disorders or symptoms, also stated as irregular or continued use of a prescribed drug for chronic or recurrent disease. It is commonly practiced among medical students.

Objective: To study the prevalence, pattern, and perceptions of self-medication practices among the undergraduate medical students and the factors influencing them.

Material and Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out among medical students of Yenepoya Medical College, Mangalore, Karnataka, India. Universal method of sampling was followed. MBBS students studying in all the three phases who consented to participate in the study were included. The data were collected by using a self-structured questionnaire and compiled in an Excel worksheet. SPSS, version 16.0, was used to analyze the data in this study.

Results: A total of 430 medical students participated in the study; among them, 50.2% (n = 226) were female students and 49.8% (n = 224) male students, with a mean age of 20.81  1.52 years. Majority [378 (84%)] of them resorted to self-medication practices.The most common reason for self–medication, which the students stated, was convenience (46.9%), followed by cost saving (22%). The major source for selection of medicine was opinion from senior/friend (40.2%), and major source for deciding the dosage was usage of technology [Internet (35%)]. The medicine most commonly used were analgesics (57.3%), antipyretics (53%), antibiotics (47%), and antihistamine (33%).

Conclusion: Self-medication should be considered as a serious threat especially among students with inadequate knowledge regarding appropriate drug choice, duration of treatment doses, and side effects.

Key words: Key-words: self-medication, practices, students

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