Assessment of Self-Medication Practices in a Rural Area of North India: A Questionnaire-based Study

Richa Mahajan, Reeha Mahajan

Abstract


Background: Self-medication is emerging as a commonly practiced modality in India, both in the urban and rural population. A large percentage of people do not consult the doctors in India because of economic reasons. However, self-medication practice (SMP) is linked with major challenges such as wastage of resources, increased resistance of pathogens, and serious health risks. Materials and Methods: The current study aims to estimate the patterns of SMPs and their association with different variables of socio-demographic parameters, with the help of a questionnaire administered on 500 patients, attending the Emergency Department of a Community Health Centre in a rural area of Jammu region in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India. The data were coded, analyzed, and reported as frequencies and percentages. The association between SMP and various socio-demographic variables was ascertained using Chi-square test. Results: In the present study, 196 respondents, out of a total of 500, practiced self-medication. It was observed that out of 185 employed individuals, 81 followed SMPs and out of 500 respondents, only 88 had monthly family income more than ?20,000. It was seen that 59.1% of the higher-income strata individuals practiced self-medication. Patients who were divorced, literate, more than 55 years of age and employed, practiced self-medication more often. All the associations were found to be significant. It was observed that analgesics/ antipyretics were the most commonly used medications and pharmacy professionals were common source of information for self-medication. Conclusions: SMP influences health- care seeking behavior of individuals. Hence, the government should take adequate steps to create awareness about the indiscriminate use of over-the-counter drugs.

Key words: Self-medication, Rural, Socio-demographic, Analgesics


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