Drugs at Home: A Source of Potential Health Threats? A Community-based Exploratory Study on the Patterns of Home Drug Storage Practices in South India
Background: The presence of medicines in households is a risk factor for irrational drug use. In India, medicines are procured with or without prescription and are kept at home and often are utilized in an inappropriate manner. Household surveys give accurate information on how medicines are acquired and used by consumers, as they provide the best evidence in the area. Aim: The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence and patterns of home drug storage practices in villages of South India. Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive questionnaire-based study was carried out in villages attached to the rural health training center, which were selected by multi-stage random sampling to involve 500 households, where the storage places of drugs were inspected after obtaining informed consent. Results: A high prevalence of 95.4% drugs was stored at home, with more than half of the medicines stored for current use, while 16% stored for the future. Analgesics and antipyretics were common classes of drugs stored and tablets were the most common formulation stored. More than half of the drugs stored were prescription-based, while 42% of the drugs were stored in inappropriate conditions and 17% expired. Overall the behavior of the study population on the future use of stored drugs was unsatisfactory. Conclusion: The study revealed high home drug storage of medicines, with inappropriate storage conditions and irrational use of the stored medicines. The findings suggest the need to educate patients about proper storage practices and rational use of medicines.
Key words: Drug sharing, home drug storage, irrational drug use, prescription drugs, self-medication
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