Introduction: The objective of this study was to elicit the self-medication patterns in second year medical students and to assess whether medical training results in any change.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study in which a self-developed, pre-validated questionnaire with both open and close-ended items on various aspects of self-medication was used. Study population consisted of 150 second year medical students, who were required to fill the questionnaire. Analysis was done by SPSS software and the frequency distribution and percentages of the variables were obtained.
Results: A total of 150 students, 80 female and 70 male, were included in the study. Selfâ€medication was reported by 137 students (91.3%). The respondents who used selfâ€medication found it to be time-saving in providing relief from minor ailments. The most common ailments for which selfâ€medication was used were: fever (52.6%), URTI (51.1%) and headache (49.6%). The source of information regarding drugs and doses were previous prescription, package inserts, seniors & friends. NSAIDs (65.5%), antihistamines (50.3%) and antibiotics (13.8%) were the most common self-medicated drugs. Of the respondents, 63.4% were unaware of the adverse effects of the medication and 8% had experienced adverse reactions. 76% of participants feel that their knowledge in pharmacology has positively influenced their attitude towards self-medication.
Conclusion: The prevalence of selfâ€medication among medical students is high, facilitated by the easy availability of drugs and information from textbooks and seniors. A significant number of students are unaware of the ethical issues and principles of rational drug use. Therefore it is essential that students be made aware of the potential problems of selfâ€medication and the principles of rational and ethical drug use.
Selfâ€medication, Medical students, inappropriate drug use, rational drug use