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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 54-57

Self-medication practices among dental, midwifery and nursing students


1 Department of Oral Diagnosis and Radiology, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria
2 Department of Periodontics, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria
3 Department of Preventive Dentistry, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria
4 Department of Paediatrics, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria

Date of Web Publication2-Feb-2013

Correspondence Address:
Clement C Azodo
Department of Periodontics, New Dental Complex, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, P.M.B. 1111 Ugbowo, Benin City, Edo State 300001
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2278-9626.106813

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  Abstract 

Objective: To determine the pattern of self-medication among dental, midwifery and nursing students and to evaluate the factors associated with self-medication. Materials and Methods: A questionnaire-based cross-sectional of dental, nursing and midwifery students undergoing clinical training in University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Nigeria was conducted in 2010. The elicited data include demography, use of drug without doctor's prescription, type of drug used (pain relievers, antibiotics, anti-malarial, cough medication and nutritional supplement), reasons for self-medication, factors that influenced the choice of drug and source of drug. Results: A total of 76.8% of the respondents indulged in self-medication practices. Of which, 33.0% used the medication inappropriately. The type of self-medication use was, pain relievers (60.5%), antibiotics (43.2%), anti-malarial (40.5%), cough medication (16.7%) and nutritional supplement (16.0%). Previous experience with the illness and perceived minor nature of the illness were the predominant reasons for the self-medication practices among the respondents. The major factors that influenced their choice of medication were previous experience with similar symptoms (39.7%), advice of non-doctor health professional (33.5%). Pharmacy shop was the main source of the self-medicated drugs. Conclusion: Self-medication was a common practice among this studied group of health workers. The level of inappropriate drug use denotes self-medication as an unhealthy option, and it therefore, should be discouraged.

Keywords: Health professionals, Nigeria, self-medication


How to cite this article:
Ehigiator O, Azodo CC, Ehizele AO, Ezeja EB, Ehigiator L, Madukwe IU. Self-medication practices among dental, midwifery and nursing students. Eur J Gen Dent 2013;2:54-7

How to cite this URL:
Ehigiator O, Azodo CC, Ehizele AO, Ezeja EB, Ehigiator L, Madukwe IU. Self-medication practices among dental, midwifery and nursing students. Eur J Gen Dent [serial online] 2013 [cited 2019 Aug 19];2:54-7. Available from: http://www.ejgd.org/text.asp?2013/2/1/54/106813


  Introduction Top


Self-medication is defined as obtaining and consuming drugs without the advice of a doctor either for diagnosis, prescription or surveillance of treatment [1] is endemic in developing countries. [2] It is considered beneficial as individuals play an active role in remedying their own acute medical conditions. [3] It is believed in some quarters that responsible self-medication may be economical, save life in acute conditions and time spent in waiting to see a doctor. [4],[5] Inappropriate self-medication, however, may result in serious health hazards such as adverse drug reactions, drug dependence and increased resistance of pathogens. [6]

Studies have been done on self-medication with antibiotics among medical [7] and dental students [8] in Nigeria. The group of health workers in this study was made up by dental, nursing and midwifery students. Dental students are future prescribers of drugs, and so it is important to find out how rational their drug use is. Nursing and midwifery students, on the other hand, will be expected to handle several types of medications as well as have easy access to drugs in their future practice. This can favor self-prescription and self-medication. [9] Furthermore, dental, nursing and midwifery students constitute a group of future health professionals who serve an important role in educating members of the community against self-medication. It is therefore, important to determine to what extent they are also involved in this potentially harmful practice.

The objective of this study was to determine the pattern of self-medication among dental, midwifery and nursing students and to evaluate the factors associated with self-medication.


  Materials and Methods Top


This questionnaire-based cross-sectional of dental, nursing and midwifery students studying at University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Nigeria was conducted in 2010. A self-administered, 12- itemed questionnaire was used for the study. The questionnaire sought details on the demography, use of drug without doctor's prescription, type of drug used (pain relievers, antibiotics, anti-malarial, cough medication and nutritional supplement) and for what condition, reasons for self-medication, factors that influenced the choice of drug and the source of the drug. Inappropriate drug used was determined by checking if the self-medicated drug has any known therapeutic effect on the medical condition it was used for.

Informed consent was obtained from the individual participants, before the commencement of the survey. The Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 15.0 was used for data analysis. Results were presented in simple frequency tables.


  Results Top


The number of respondents who participated in the study was 383. Only 8.6% of the respondents were above 27-years of age. A total of 76.8% of the respondents practiced self-medication [Table 1]. The drugs were used inappropriately by 33.0% of the respondents who practice self-medication. The type of self-medicated drugs was pain relievers (60.5%), antibiotics (43.2%), anti-malarial (40.5%), cough medication (16.7%) and nutritional supplement (16.0%) [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Type of self‑medicated drugs among respondents

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Table 1: Demographic characteristics of the respondents

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Previous experience with the illness and perceived minor nature of the illness were the predominant reasons for the self-medication practices among the respondents, and the two reasons make up 32.7% and 23.2% respectively [Table 2]. The major factors that influenced their choice of medication were previous experience with similar symptoms (39.7%), advice of another health professional (33.5%) [Table 3]. Pharmacy shop was the main source of the self-medicated drugs (66.2%) [Table 4].
Table 2: Reasons for self‑medicated drugs among respondents

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Table 3: Factors influencing the choice of self‑medicated drugs among respondents

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Table 4: Source of the self‑medicated drugs among respondents

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  Discussion Top


The prevalence of self-medication among the respondents (76.8%) was high. This is comparable to the 73% among Nigeria tertiary hospital workers [10] and 72.1% documented among secondary school pupil in Hong Kong. [11] The high educational and literacy level of the studied respondents may be the reason [10],[12] this result also shows that access to healthcare does not significantly reduce self-medication practices. The young age group of the respondents may also be contributory to the documented prevalence.

The most commonly self-medicated drug was pain relievers. This was similar to the finding in other studies [6],[13],[14],[15] Although information on the type of pain reliever self-medicated was not sought in this study, the important role of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug in the aetiology of peptic ulcer justifies further studies on self-medication with pain relievers. Self-medication with antibiotics and anti-malaria drugs was also quite high in this study. This finding is important as development of resistant strain to antibiotics and anti-malaria drugs is now a major source of concern.

The self-medicated drugs were correctly used among 67.0% of the respondents, and this is lower than 75.5% [16] and 95.6% reported in earlier studies. [10] The prevalence of inappropriate self-medication of 33% reported in this study is worrisome because it has been stated that self-medication is as an unhealthy option as it can cause treatment failure, drug resistance and drug toxicity. [17],[18],[19]

Previous studies reported that the most common reason for self-medication is to save time and cost. [6] Although time and cost saving constituted a significant reason in this study, previous experience with illness was the predominant reason for self-medication in this study. This supports the finding of other studies. [12],[13] In this study, respondents also claimed to practice self-medication because of the perceived minor nature of the illness. This reason has been given in previous studies. [11],[12]

Experience has been said to be the best teacher, so it is not surprising that the previous experience with similar symptoms was a common reason influencing the choice of self-medicated drugs. The members of this study group come in contact with many health workers in their institution of training, and this may be the reason why they reported that other health professionals, apart from doctors, influenced their choice of self-medicated drugs.

The quality and efficacy of drugs depend upon source of the drug procurement. Pharmacy shop was the main source of the self-medicated drugs in this study, and this is similar to the finding among Sudanese undergraduate university students. [19] many patronize the pharmacy shop because they think the possibility of a pharmacy shops stocking and selling substandard drugs is low. This finding implies that standards are not necessarily compromised when self-medication is practiced.


  Conclusion Top


Self-medication was a common practice among the future health workers. The level of inappropriate drug use denotes self-medication as an unhealthy option, and it should therefore be discouraged. Education on irrational use of drug is highly advocated.

 
  References Top

1.Montastruc JL, Bagheri H, Geraud T, Lapeyre-Mestre M. Pharmacovigilance of self-medication. Therapie 1997;52:105-10.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.Omolase CO, Adeleke OE, Afolabi AO, Afolabi OT. Self medication amongst general outpatients in a Nigerian community hospital. Ann Ib Postgrad Med 2007;5:64-7.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.Clavijo HA, Baquero JA, Ulloa S, Morales A. Self-medication during pregnancy. World Health Forum 1995;16:403-4.  Back to cited text no. 3
[PUBMED]    
4.World Health Organization. Report of the WHO Expert Committee on National Drug Policies, 1995. Available from: http://www.who.int/medicines/library/dap/who-dap-95-9/who-dap-95.9.shtml. [Last accessed on 2010 Mar 13].  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.Kiyingi KS, Lauwo JA. Drugs in the home: Danger and waste. World Health Forum 1993; 14: 381-84.  Back to cited text no. 5
[PUBMED]    
6.López JJ, Dennis R, Moscoso SM. A study of self-medication in a neighborhood in Bogotá. Rev Salud Publica (Bogota) 2009;11:432-42.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.Fadare JO, Tamuno I. Antibiotic self-medication among university medical undergraduates in Northern Nigeria. J Public Health Epidemiol 2011;3:217-20.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.Ehigiator O, Azodo CC, Ehikhamenor EE. Self-medication with antibiotics among Nigerian dental students. Tanz Dent J 2010;16:48-54.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.Barros AR, Griep RH, Rotenberg L. Self-medication among nursing workers from public hospitals. Rev Lat Am Enfermagem 2009;17:1015-22.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.Bamgboye EA, Amoran OE, Yusuf OB. Self medication practices among workers in a tertiary hospital in Nigeria. Afr J Med Med Sci 2006;35:411-5.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.Tse MH, Chung JT, Munro JG. Self-medication among secondary school pupils in Hong Kong: A descriptive study. Fam Pract 1989;6:303-6.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.Saeed AA. Self-medication among primary care patients in Farazdak Clinic in Riyadh. Soc Sci Med 1988;27:287-9.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.Zafar SN, Syed R, Waqar S, Zubairi AJ, Vaqar T, Shaikh M, et al. Self-medication amongst university students of Karachi: Prevalence, knowledge and attitudes. J Pak Med Assoc 2008;58:214-7.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.Aljinoviæ-Vuciæ V, Trkulja V, Lackoviæ Z. Content of home pharmacies and self-medication practices in households of pharmacy and medical students in Zagreb, Croatia: Findings in 2001 with a reference to 1977. Croat Med J 2005;46:74-80.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
15.Afolabi AO, Akinmoladun VI, Adebose IJ, Elekwachi G. Self-medication profile of dental patients in Ondo State, Nigeria. Niger J Med 2010;19:96-103.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
16.Moral Serrano S, Aguarón Joven E, Adán Gil FM, Pons Pons L, Baquer Masgrau A, Viejo Navarro L. Do the patients medicate themselves correctly? Aten Primaria 1994;13:242-6.  Back to cited text no. 16
    
17.Sihavong A, Lundborg CS, Syhakhang L, Akkhavong K, Tomson G, Wahlström R. Antimicrobial self medication for reproductive tract infections in two provinces in Lao People's Democratic Republic. Sex Transm Infect 2006;82:182-6.  Back to cited text no. 17
    
18.Oshikoya KA, Njokanma OF, Bello JA, Ayorinde EO. Family self-medication for children in an urban area of Nigeria. Paed Perinat Drug Ther 2007;8:124-30.  Back to cited text no. 18
    
19.Awad AI, Eltayeb IB. Self-medication practices with antibiotics and antimalarials among Sudanese undergraduate university students. Ann Pharmacother 2007;41:1249-55.  Back to cited text no. 19
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]


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