Nigerian Journal of Medicine

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Perception and practice of self-medication with over-the-counter analgesics among students of a tertiary institution

Muhammed Sani Ibrahim, Aisha Gloria Bala, Aisha A. Abubakar


Background: Although over-the-counter (OTC) analgesics increase access to and ease of medication, they are a major contributor to irrational use of medicines worldwide.This study assessed perception and practice of self-medication with OTC analgesics among students of Federal College of Education,Zaria.

Method: It was a cross-sectional study of 200 students. Data was collected using a self-administered questionnaire. Descriptive statistics were computed, and Chi-square test was used to test association between practice of self-medication and other categorical variables.

Results: Seventy-six (38.8%) had good knowledge of OTC analgesics and 187 (95.4%) had good perception. Majority 151 (77.0%) had taken at least one OTC analgesic in the last three months.The most common reason for taking OTC analgesics was their easy availability 66 (43.7%),and the most common symptom treated was headache 80 (53.0%).Self-medication with OTC analgesics was significantly associated with age (p = 0.010) and level of study (p = 0.001),but not with sex (p = 0.866),ethnicity (p = 0.416) or marital status (p = 0.104).

Conclusion: Knowledge of OTC analgesics was poor,perception was largely positive,while self-medication was a common practice. Major factors influencing self-medication were age and level of education. It is recommended that efforts to control excessive self-medication with OTC analgesics should focus on creating public awareness and restricting the sale of OTC analgesics to licensed dealers.

Keywords: Self-Medication, Over-The-Counter, Analgesics,Students

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