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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 773-779

Self-medication among people visiting outpatient clinics of a Tertiary care hospital, Karachi

1 Family Physician, Indus Hospital, Indus Health Network, Karachi, Pakistan
2 Head of Department, Department of Family Medicine, Indus Hospital Research Centre (IHRC), Karachi, Pakistan
3 Chairperson Indus Hospital Research Centre (IHRC), Karachi, Pakistan
4 Department of Statistics and Training at Indus Hospital Research Centre (IHRC), Indus Hospital, Indus Health Network, Karachi, Pakistan

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Naseem Amin Dhedhi
Resident Family Physician, Indus Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan. Postal Address: T2, C 10, Dada Bhoy Town, Abdullah Bilal Rd, Karachi - 75350
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_1887_20

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Background and Aim: “Self-medication” is the self-use of medicines for treatment of illnesses. Inappropriate use of medicines without prescription leads to unwanted adverse effects, harmful drug interactions, and antibiotic resistance which is an emerging concern in developing countries due to escalating burden of infectious diseases. This study aims at identifying the frequency and contributing factors of self-medication, nature of illness, and types of medicines used without doctor's prescription. Material and Methods: This cross sectional study was conducted at Indus Hospital Karachi between March 2017 and December 2018. Two hundred and forty people of any age visiting the outpatient clinics of the Indus hospital consenting to participate were included. Whereas all clinicians including medical officers, specialists and consultants were excluded from the study. Results: Three-fifth (n = 147; 61.3%) of the participants reported that they did self-medication either for themselves or for their children in the past one year. The most common symptoms for which self-medication was done were fever (n = 82, 55.8%), cough/cold (n = 38; 25.8%) or diarrhea (n = 22; 15.0%). Out of which, 122 (83%) did self-medication based on their previous experience, 18 (12.2%) used previous doctor's prescriptions, whereas 22 (15%) reported that other people advised them. Education, presence of unused medicines at home, and those who have heard of antibiotic were found to be the significant risk factors associated with self-medication. Conclusion: Among Pakistani population, the frequency of self-medication is very high, with most people practicing self-medication on the basis of their previous experiences. It puts them at risk of experiencing adverse reactions and most importantly antibiotic resistance.

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