Benefits and risks of self medication.
ABSTRACT Self medication is becoming an increasingly important area within healthcare. It moves patients towards greater independence in making decisions about management of minor illnesses, thereby promoting empowerment. Self medication also has advantages for healthcare systems as it facilitates better use of clinical skills, increases access to medication and may contribute to reducing prescribed drug costs associated with publicly funded health programmes. However, self medication is associated with risks such as misdiagnosis, use of excessive drug dosage, prolonged duration of use, drug interactions and polypharmacy. The latter may be particularly problematic in the elderly. Monitoring systems, a partnership between patients, physicians and pharmacists and the provision of education and information to all concerned on safe self medication, are proposed strategies for maximising benefit and minimising risk.
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ABSTRACT: The practice of self-medication is exemplary in raising the question of medicinal uses and risks. In contrast to the biomedical or pharmacological view of self-medication, the anthropological approach looks to understand the logics that underpin it. Therefore, I wished to question how users choose the medicines they take and how they construct the modalities of their use. However, not only are the users conscious of the risks associated with pharmaceutical use, they even devise strategies that specifically aim to reduce these risks. Based on research carried out in France on how people use medicines in the context of self-medication, I examined the strategies they adopt in order to reduce the risks connected with such use. This study relies on qualitative research. It combines interviews with users and anthropological observation, both conducted at the participants' homes, to reveal their uses, their decisions, their hesitations and the precautions they take regarding their medicines. The logics underpinning the management of risks associated with medicinal consumption are varied. Thus we find quantitative and qualitative logics, in virtue of which users choose to limit their medicines depending on the number of different medicines or on their intrinsic qualities. Their choices hinge on a logic of cumulation and a logic of identity, where, in the former, users seek to increase or reduce their medicinal consumption to augment the efficacy of a medicine or, in the latter case, they aim to reduce the risks in relation to their personal characteristics. In the same way, the perception of risk that underpins consumption practices is organised according to the notions of risk in itself and risk for oneself, where risk is either considered to be inherent to the medicine or to be linked to the incompatibility between a given substance and a person's body. Managing risk is thus done in parallel to managing efficacy, where a balance is sought between maximising the latter and minimising the former. This either leads patients to limit the consumption of medicines because of their adverse effects, or, on the contrary, to consume them precisely for these effects. Risk reduction strategies often consist of verifying, experimenting with, and personalising treatments. Although users sometimes resort to practices that do not comply with biomedical recommendations, they do so in order to attain the values and exigencies of biomedicine as regards the validation or personalisation of treatments. However irrational and peculiar these practices may appear, the mechanisms on which they are based do not necessarily break away from medical recommendations. Therefore, anthropologically speaking, we cannot oppose good and bad practices in terms of medicinal uses, since what health professionals would consider to be bad practices are thought by patients to be in keeping with good use.Drug Safety 04/2014; · 3.41 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Self-medication, including both the use of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and the use of formerly prescribed drugs taken without a current physician's recommendation, is a public health concern; however, little data exist regarding the actual risk. We aimed to analyse self-medication-related adverse drug reactions (ADRs) leading to hospitalisation. In a multi-centre, observational study covering a hospital catchment area of approximately 500,000 inhabitants, we analysed self-medication-related ADRs leading to hospital admissions in internal medicine departments. Data of patients with ADRs were comprehensively documented, and ADR causality was assessed using Bégaud's algorithm. The included ADRs occurred between January 2000 and December 2008 and were assessed to be at least 'possibly' drug related. Of 6,887 patients with ADRs, self-medication was involved in 266 (3.9 %) patients. In 143 (53.8 %) of these patients, ADRs were due to OTC drugs. Formerly prescribed drugs and potential OTC drugs accounted for the remaining ADRs. Most self-medication-related ADRs occurred in women aged 70-79 years and in men aged 60-69 years. Self-medication-related ADRs were predominantly gastrointestinal complaints caused by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (most frequently OTC acetylsalicylic acid [ASA, aspirin]). In 102 (38.3 %) of the patients with self-medication-related ADRs, a relevant drug-drug interaction (DDI), occurring between a self-medication and a prescribed medication, was present (most frequently ASA taken as an OTC drug and prescribed diclofenac). In the general population, self-medication plays a limited role in ADRs leading to hospitalisation. However, prevention strategies focused on elderly patients and patients receiving interacting prescribed drugs would improve patient safety.Drug Safety 02/2014; · 3.41 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Self-medication makes consumers more health conscious, reduces treatment burden on healthcare facilities and curtails the cost and time of obtaining access to treatment. However, it increases risks such as drug resistance, adverse drug reactions, incorrect diagnosis, drug interactions and polypharmacy. The purpose of this study was to assess the practices and factors associated with self-medication in Mekelle, Tigray region, Ethiopia. A cross-sectional study was undertaken in Mekelle from February to March 2013. A structured and pre-tested questionnaire was used for data collection to assess self-medication practices. Data were analyzed using of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20.0. Among self-medicated study participants, 199(73.7%) were males and 71(26.3%) were females with mean age of 28.65 years. The most frequently reported illnesses or symptoms of illnesses that prompted self-medication of study participants were headache/fever (20.7%), gastrointestinal diseases (17.3%) and respiratory tract infections (15.9%) with the main reasons being mildness of the disease, prior experience and less expensive. The majority of drug consumers made their requests by telling their symptoms, by mentioning specific names of the drugs and by showing old samples. Analgesics/antipyretics, gastrointestinal drugs, respiratory drugs and oral rehydration salt were the most frequently requested categories of drugs. Pharmacists followed by other healthcare providers were the most frequently reported source of drug information for self-medication. The results of this study demonstrated that self-medication practices were common for a wide range of illnesses. Health professionals, especially community pharmacists need to educate people on the benefits and risks of self-medication to encourage responsible self-medication.PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(5):e97464. · 3.73 Impact Factor