Biomedical Research

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The practice of self-medication in an urban population

Aim: The aim of this study was to determine the drug utilization of patients without consulting a doctor in Edirne.

Methods: Out of 6133 patients over 18 y of age admitted to 19 Family Health Centers located in the city center, 36.8% (n=1781) agreed to participate. Patients with communication problems were excluded. A questionnaire prepared by the researchers was filled out face-to-face.

Results: According to patient’s responses, 62.5% (n=1113) of patients did not use any drugs without consulting a doctor, while 37.5% of them did (n=668). There was no significant difference between genders. Students, high-income group and postgraduates had the highest proportion of self-medication. For the reason of using drugs without consulting (n=668), 53.3% (n=356) said “I used a previously successful drug”, 25.6% (n=171) said “it was an emergency” and 10.8% (n=72) said “drug is cheaper than consultation”. Of these drugs, 88.5% (n=591) were pain killers, 51.5% (n=344) were cold medicines and 12.7% (n=85) were vitamins.

Conclusion: Self-medication and over-the-counter drugs are significant problems resulting in irrational drug use. People with higher education and economic level seem to have a tendency in self-medication and irrational drug use, thus health education and health literacy should be emphasized and included in the curriculum in every education level, apart from formal education. While doctors play a key role in rational drug use, other health professionals like pharmacists should also be involved.

Author(s): Serdar Oztora, Gulnar Nepesova, Ayse Caylan, Hamdi Nezih Dagdeviren