Prevalence of Self-Medication among Urban and Rural Population of Islamabad, Pakistan
Purpose: To evaluate the prevalence and associated factors of self-medication among urban and rural population of Islamabad, Pakistan.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 500 participants using random sampling method. A pretested questionnaire was used to collect the data from urban and rural areas of Islamabad. Chi square/Fisher’s exact test was used to compare two groups.
Results: Overall, 61.2% of participants practised self-medication and it was more prevalent among 15-30 years age group. An association was found between self-medication and residence, gender, and education (p<0.05). A majority of participants (n = 364, 72.8%) trusted Allopathic system the most. Pain was the most likely indication (n = 207, 67.6%) for which participants self-medicated (p<0.05). Analgesics were the most likely (n = 187, 61.1%) medicine class used (p<0.05), majorly, paracetamol. Mild illness (n = 128, 41.8%) was determined as the most common reason (p<0.05). Generally, higher proportion of urban participants reported “previous experience” and “time saving” as the most common reason for the practice of self-medication in contrast to “economical” and “lack of health care facilities” described by rural participants. A majority of the participants (n = 186, 60.8%) self-medicated on their own initiative (p<0.001). Generally, higher percentage of urban participants reported family/friends (27.9% versus 15.7%) as the commonest source in contrast to medical professionals (21.6% versus 5.2%) reported by rural respondents.
Conclusion: This study shows an association between self-medication and gender, residence, and education. Urban and rural participants significantly differ on the most common reason, symptom, source and class of drug used for self-medication.
Keywords: Self medication, Prevalence, Rural, Urban, Analgesics