Self-medication profile of dental patients attending a North Eastern Tertiary Hospital in Nigeria

  • E.A. Idowu
  • A.O. Afolabi
  • B.O. Fakuade
  • O.B. Akintububo
  • O. Ibiyemi
Keywords: Self-medication, Dental patients, North-eastern Nigeria


Background: Self-medication is widely practiced worldwide. Literatures abound on its use for medical ailments but there is paucity of information for dental complaints especially in Northeastern Nigeria. Hence, this study was designed to determine the prevalence of self-medication for dental problems before dental consultation and its associated factors among patients attending Federal Teaching Hospital (FTH), Dental and Maxillofacial
Outpatient Clinic, Gombe, Gombe State, Nigeria.
Materials and Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study based on a structured pretested close-ended interviewer-administered questionnaire was distributed among adults visiting FTH outpatient dental clinic, Gombe, Nigeria for a period of 8 months. The questionnaire was composed of two main sections: demographic characteristics and questions assessing the behaviour of self-medication. The non-probability convenient sampling technique was used and data was stored and analysed using IBM-Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 23.0.
Results: The results showed that the prevalence of self-medication was found to be 41.5% (194/468), with a higher prevalence among females (55.1% or 107/194) than males (44.9% or 87/194). The majority (52% or101/194) of the patients were in the 2-4th decades of life. Educational status was significantly associated with self-medication. Analgesics accounted for the greatest percentage (98/164 or 59.8%) of orthodox drugs used followed by antibiotics (62/164 or 37.8%). However, with respect to individual medication consumed, paracetamol accounted for the majority (28.7%). A greater number (55/194 or 28.4%) could not remember the name of the orthodox drugs they took before consultations. Street hawkers
were the main source of these medicaments (36.6 or 71/194%). Fear of dental treatment (20.1% 39/194), ailment is simple and the need not to see a dentist (20.1% 39/194) were claimed to be the main reason for practicing self-medication with periodontitis (53.1% or 103/194), pulpitis (13.9% or 27/194) and pericoronitis (10.8% or 21/194) the main predictors.
Conclusion: The prevalence of self-medications to dental problems in this study was discovered to be high with the use of both orthodox and unidentified traditional drugs. National Health Insurance Scheme should be made to cover all social group of Nigerians in order to encourage easy accessibilities of all people to wide range of medical and dental consultations, thereby discouraging the practice of self-medication.

Keywords: Self-medication, Dental patients, North-eastern Nigeria


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eISSN: 1597-1627