Article

Benefits and risks of self medication

School of Pharmacy, The Queen s University of Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Drug Safety (Impact Factor: 2.62). 02/2001; 24(14):1027-37. DOI: 10.2165/00002018-200124140-00002
Source: PubMed

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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    • "Unjustified and inappropriate self-medication results in wastage of healthcare resources and increases resistance of pathogens, drug-drug interactions, and adverse drug reactions leading to hospital admissions [1] [2] [3] [4]. Sociocultural and socioeconomic characteristics, the previous experience with a symptom or disease, the attitude toward a disease, the way in which healthcare is funded or reimbursed, the increased potential to manage illnesses through self-care, and the availability of medicinal products have been quoted as explanatory factors of the self-medication [5] [6] [7]. "
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    • "CD aims to prevent patient medication nonadherence as it allows continuity of treatment when patients do not have a prescription. Patients would prefer availability of medications without prescription if they were easily accessible, reduced the need to visit their doctors and achieved at a lower cost.10,11 Therefore, easier access to medications, without a prescription or an extra cost (which CD provides) are encouraging factors to enhance patient adherence.12 "
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    Patient Preference and Adherence 08/2014; 8:1143-1151. DOI:10.2147/PPA.S66719 · 1.49 Impact Factor
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    • "Risks associated with self-medication include lack of clinical evaluation of the condition by a health care provider which could result in misdiagnosis and incorrect choice of drugs, delays in seeking appropriate treatments, use of excessive drugs or lower dosage and prolonged duration of use [8]. Other potential risks include the development of adverse drug reactions, dangerous drug interactions and masking of a severe disease [9]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Self-medication has been widely practiced worldwide particularly in developing countries including Tanzania. In sub-Saharan Africa high incidences of malaria have contributed to self-medication with anti-malarial drugs. In recent years, there has been a gain in malaria control, which has led to decreased malaria transmission, morbidity and mortality. Therefore, understanding the patterns of self-medication during this period when most instances of fever are presumed to be due to non-malaria febrile illnesses is important. In this study, self-medication practice was assessed among community members and information on the habit of self-medication was gathered from health workers. Methods Twelve focus group discussions (FGD) with members of communities and 14 in-depth interviews (IDI) with health workers were conducted in Kilosa district, Tanzania. The transcripts were coded into different categories by MaxQDA software and then analysed through thematic content analysis. Results The study revealed that self-medication was a common practice among FGD participants. Anti-malarial drugs including sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine and quinine were frequently used by the participants for treatment of fever. Study participants reported that they visited health facilities following failure of self-medication or if there was no significant improvement after self-medication. The common reported reasons for self-medication were shortages of drugs at health facilities, long waiting time at health facilities, long distance to health facilities, inability to pay for health care charges and the freedom to choose the preferred drugs. Conclusion This study demonstrated that self-medication practice is common among rural communities in the study area. The need for community awareness is emphasized for correct and comprehensive information about drawbacks associated with self-medication practices. Deliberate efforts by the government and other stakeholders to improve health care services, particularly at primary health care facilities will help to reduce self-medication practices.
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