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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 162-167

Self-medication among North Indian first-year undergraduate healthcare students: A questionnaire-based study

Department of Physiology, Gian Sagar Medical College, Patiala, Punjab, India

Correspondence Address:
Sharat Gupta
House No # 849, SST Nagar, Rajpura Road, Patiala - 147 001, Punjab
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DOI: 10.4103/1119-0388.185448

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Background: Self-medication is the treatment of common health problems by a patient's own initiatives, without professional supervision. Throughout the world, healthcare students have been found to be more prone to indulge in this unhealthy practice. Aim: This study was conducted to assess the prevalence, practices, and perceptions regarding self-medication among healthcare students from northern India. Materials and Methods: The present survey-based study was conducted on 360 subjects (142 males and 218 females), aged 18-20 years. It included both medical and dental first-year undergraduate students, who were selected using convenience sampling. The data were collected using a validated, semistructured, and self-administered questionnaire. The results were presented as counts and percentages. Statistical Package for the Social Sciences version 13.0 (IBM corporation, Chicago, US) software was used for statistical analysis. Results: The prevalence rate of self-medication was 92.7%. The most common reasons cited were "quick relief" (90.4%) and "illness too trivial for consultation" (88.6%). "Advice from pharmacist" emerged as the main source of self-medication practices (95.8%). Analgesics (92.8%) and antibiotics (90.7%) were the most commonly used drugs, while the most common ailments for which self-medication was used were headaches/body aches (92.8%) and sore throat (85.6%). More than half of the participants had a positive attitude toward self-medication. Conclusion: A vast majority of the healthcare students are oblivious to the potential adverse side effects of self-medication. Therefore, there is an urgent need to appraise them regarding the dangers of indiscriminate drug use along with the implementation of stringent statutory regulations regarding the sale and availability of drugs.

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