Benefits and Risks of Self Medication

School of Pharmacy, The Queen s University of Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Drug Safety (Impact Factor: 2.82). 02/2001; 24(14):1027-37. DOI: 10.2165/00002018-200124140-00002
Source: PubMed


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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    ABSTRACT: The aims of this cross-sectional survey were to document the prevalence, the determinants, and the reasons of oral medication use without the prescription of a physician among a random sample of 672 parents of students attending randomly selected public schools in Italy. A total of 69.2% practiced self-medication at least once. The odds of having performed a self-medication were higher in females, in younger population, and in those who have had a health problem in the preceding year and were lower in respondents with a middle or lower school level of education. Among those reporting experience of self-medication, 53.4% have practiced at least once in the last year and this was more likely for those who have had a health problem. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs were more frequently used without a prescription in the last year. Two-thirds inappropriately self-medicated in the last year at least once. Of those who did not report a self-medication, 13.1% were willing to practice it. Females were more willing and those with a secondary school level of education less willing to practice self-medication. The frequency of oral self-medication was quite high and in most cases inappropriate with a potential impact on the health status and educative programs are needed.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · BioMed Research International
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    • "Also, rational self-care practice can decrease the pressure on the medical services, where health care personnel are inadequate [8]. Furthermore, it can increase health awareness among people and allow them to build confidence and take charge to manage their own health [2]. It has been reported that in United Arab Emirates, like the rest of the world, people tend to go for self-medication for many reasons which include the high fee cost of medical consultation, lack of time, long hours of waiting at the physician's clinic, lack of trust in the physicians' medical knowledge, previous experience with the medical condition and its drug management, and the lack or the unavailability of near health facilities [4]. "

    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Pharmacology & Pharmacy
    • "Although adolescents do exhibit a sense of responsibility, the potential risks associated with SM can be misuse, overuse, or abuse of drugs [9]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose was to systematically review the global trends and factors influencing self-medication (SM) among adolescents. Databases (Medline/Pubmed, Ingenta, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, CINAHL, Proquest, Scopus, and Google Scholar) were searched for peer-reviewed research published between January 2000 and December 2013 on SM among adolescents aged 13–18 years. Articles were scrutinized for country of origin, sample size, recall period, prevalence rates and associations, influencing factors, medicines used, self-medicated health complaints, sources of drug information, recommendation and procurement, knowledge about medicines, and adverse drug reactions. One hundred and sixty-three publications met the inclusion criteria. SM prevalence ranged from 2% to 92% in different countries. The most frequently self-medicated over-the-counter and prescription-only medicines were analgesics and antibiotics, respectively. Headache, allergies, and fever were the most common self-medicated health complaints reported. Misuse of both over-the-counter and prescription-only medicines reflected a risky trend. Female gender, older age, maternal education, and familial practices were associated with SM among adolescents. The primary sources of drug information, recommendation, and procurement included pharmacists, parents, and friends. High-risk practices such as diversion of prescription medicines and utilization of previous prescriptions were also reported. Most studies revealed gaps in drug knowledge, although adolescents self-rated it as satisfactory. However, few adverse drug reactions were reported, probably because of lack of awareness about the potential harmful effects of medicines. Recommendations for “responsible SM” have been made to minimize the adverse effects of SM. Understanding the links between various factors promoting SM can be helpful in deriving strategies aimed at reducing drug-related health risks among adolescents. Moreover, these will aid in creating awareness among adolescents about the potential risks of using drugs without proper information and consultation. Studies need to be designed to assess the changing trend and identify new correlates of self-medication practices among adolescents, which pose fresh challenges to monitor the menace.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Journal of Adolescent Health
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