Medical students'self-medication practice and knowledge of over-the-counter medications in south eastern nigeria
Background: Self-medication and inappropriate use of antibiotics and antimalarials has contributed to the spread of resistant strains of organisms worldwide including Nigeria.
th Methods: This study of 5 year medical students used a 44- item questionnaire to assess their use of medications without a prescription order and their knowledge on use of over the counter (OTC) medications. Scores were used to assess the appropriateness of their knowledge on the use of OTC medications.
Results: Of the 81 students in the class, 77 participated in the study (95% response rate). Females were 40 (51.9%) while the males were 37 (48.1%) in number. Sixty five (85.5%) and 45 (58.4%) of the respondents have self-medicated in the last 6 months and one month respectively. There was no difference between the sexes at six months and one month (OR 0.76; 95%CI 0.2-2.7, and OR 0.57; 95%CI 0.2-1.4 respectively). Most commonly used drugs include: antimalarials (39.4%), analgesics (36.3%), and antibiotics (18.1%) among others. The indications for which these drugs were used include: suspicion of malaria (46.7%), menstrual pains (20%), headaches and body pains (13.3%) among others. The common reasons given for self-medicating were: a previous experience with the treated ailment (60.0%) and the thought that they required no professional medical intervention (58.4%). Less than half (42.4%) had an average or good knowledge on what ailments were eligible for self-medication. There was no difference in the knowledge between the sexes (p=0.46).
Conclusion: There is a high prevalence of self-medication, including use of antimalarial and antibiotics, among the students.
Key words: Self-medications, over-the-counter drugs, students, medical, inappropriate use of drugs, indiscriminate