Prevalence of Self-Medication Practice among Medical and Paramedical Students- A Comparative Study

Author(s): Arpana Vincent1 , Tinju James2

BACKGROUND Medical and paramedical students practice self-medication as they are exposed to information about drugs in their books and from their peers, easier availability of medicines etc. This study aimed to assess the prevalence of self-medication practice among medical and paramedical students. METHODS A cross sectional study was conducted among medical and paramedical students to assess the self-medication practice by administering a structured questionnaire. A total of 265 students (20.56 ± 1.59 years) was enrolled in the study (136 were medical and 129 paramedical students). RESULTS 80.14% medical and 85.3% paramedical students practiced self-medication (p > 0.05). Among the studied group, 89.5% were using self-medication for symptomatic relief and 81.1% accessed the medicines from market followed by obtaining physician’s sample. The common indication of self-medication was for fever (76.2%) and the commonly used drug was paracetamol (78.5%). Selfmedication was significantly high in medical students with regard to the use of medications for gastritis (p=0.002), diarrhea (p = 0.002), painkillers (p= 0.0001) and allergy (p=0.0001). Only 60% of subjects were completing full course of treatment. Medical students complete their full course of antibiotic treatment compared to paramedical students (Fisher’s exact test=0.001). In the study population, 59.3% were aware of the side effects and no significant difference between medical and paramedical students was seen. In the study population, 75.6% did not recommend self-medication to others. CONCLUSIONS The practice of self-medication was common and comparable between medical and paramedical students. Awareness programmes about hazards of selfmedication need to be conducted to avoid the unsupervised use of drugs.