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Prevalence and determinants of self-medication practices among Nigerians

P.U. Bassi
A.I. Osakwe
M. Builders
Ette Ettebong
G. Kola
B. Binga
I. Oreagbai


Previous studies that evaluated the prevalence of self-medication practices in Nigeria were either institutional, specified localized areas or regions of the country, thereby making trends analysis of self-medication practices in Nigeria difficult. The aim of this study was to evaluated the prevalence and determinants of self-medication, their sources, types of illnesses and reason for self – medications among Nigerians.


The study was a descriptive cross-sectional design, conducted among Nigerian communities (urban and rural) between January and March 2020. Multistage sampling method and a community based pre-tested structured interview-administered questionnaire was used for data collection and data collected was analysed using SPSS/PC statistical package

Out of the 1089 questionnaire retrieved, 753 (52.6%) were male, while 516 (47.4%) were females. The mean age in years was (34.46±), ranges 15 – 82years, and the most predominant age group was 35 -45 (33.3%) years. The prevalence of self – Medication among the participants across the 6 geopolitical zone was 69.4%. The commonest illness Nigerians took self-medications for are headache (21.10%), Febrile illness - including Malaria (9.15%), Cough/URTI (11.64%), and Body pains (6.05%). The most common reasons for practicing self-medication were doctor/clinics too far (24.8%), busy doctors with clinic having too many patients (17.72%), convenience (18.34%), financial reasons (12.95%), and time saving (12.86%). Community pharmacy shops (23.0%) and patent medicine stores (20%) were the commonest sources where participants obtained self-medications.
Prevalence of self-medication among Nigerians is high and difficult be eliminated. Proliferations of street hawking, patent medicine shops, busy far sited poorly equipped
health facilities, financial challenges, confidence in traditional medications are the determinants of self-medications.
To avoid the harmful effects of self-medication, policy makers should improve healthcare, set up campaign and training strategies in promoting “responsible self-medication practices”. Medical practitioners should also ensure a good drug history including herbal medicine use and its harmful adverse effects.

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eISSN: 1022-9272