Self medication amongst general outpatients in a Nigerian community hospital
Aim: This study was designed to determine the proportion of general out patients who practice self medication, the drugs employed and the reasons for resorting to self medication. Methodology: This study was conducted between June and December, 2007 at the General Outpatient Clinic of the Federal Medical Centre, Owo, Ondo State, Nigeria. Two hundred consenting respondents were selected by simple random sampling and interviewed with the aid of semi structured questionnaire by the authors with three assistants. Information regarding their bio-data, history of self medication, drugs used and the reasons for resorting to self medication were obtained.
Results: Majority of the respondents (85%) admitted to self medication while the remaining proportion (15%) did not practice it. Drugs utilized
could be single, usually analgesics (26.5%) and anti-malaria (15.9%) or in combinations, usually antimalaria-analgesics (22.4%), antimalariaanalgesic-antibiotic (15.3%) and antibiotic-analgesic (10.0%). The reasons cited by respondents for self medication were their perception
of their complaints been minor enough to be amenable to self medication (54.7%) and financial constraint (22.4%). Conclusion: Majority of the respondents practiced self medication using an array of drugs like analgesics, anti-malaria and antibiotics used either singly or in combination. The main reasons identified for self medication were that the ailments were minor and financial constraint.
Key words: Self medication, drug misuse, Nigeria.
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