Assessment of Knowledge, Practice and Perception for Self-Medication of Antibiotics among Multi-Disciplinary Students

 

Yogesh Joshi1*, Priyanka Tiwari2

1Assistant Professor, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Shri Guru Ram Rai University,

Dehradun-248001, Uttarakhand, India.

2B. Pharm. Student, Department of Pharmaceutical Science, Shri Guru Ram Rai Institute of Technology and Science, Dehradun-248001, Uttarakhand, India.

*Corresponding Author E-mail: yogeshjoshi1583@rediffmail.com

 

ABSTRACT:

Self-medication is a very serious as well as highly ignored issue that involves too many risks, especially when it turns to the regular practice. An observational descriptive, questionnaire based study was undertaken among various students to assess the knowledge, practice and perception of self-medication of antibiotics. A total of 220 students were initially screened and out of which 150 involved in self-medication use were analyzed for self-medication practice. From study, it was found that female students were self-medicating more than male students while the age group 21-25 was more involved in self-medication practice than other age groups. Undergraduate students were self-medicating more as compared to postgraduate students. In terms of knowledge of self-medication, female students (58.18%) are more familiar with the term self-medication as compared to male students (41.82%). For the purpose of self-medication, amoxicillin was most commonly used antibiotic as compared to other categories. Perception related analysis showed that 33.33% patients were aware of the statement that self-medication cannot be practiced on all the drugs, 53.33% students were aware that self-medication practice is not better than hospital treatment, 46.67% students were aware of the harmful effects of self-medication, 53.33% students were aware that self-medication can cause addiction and 60% of the students were satisfied with the outcome of self-medication with antibiotics while remaining 40% were not satisfied with the outcome. The practice of self-medication on the basis of incomplete knowledge should be avoided and proper education must be required to those who are treating themselves with self-medication practice.

 

KEYWORDS: Self-medication, antibiotics, knowledge, practice, perception.

 

 


INTRODUCTION:

Self-medication can be defined as obtaining and consuming drugs without the advice of a   physician either for diagnosis, prescription or surveillance of treatment1. Self-medication is a problem that exists worldwide. About 47.6% prevalence of self medication has been reported in 2011 WHO survey2. Medicines for self-medication are often called ‘non-prescription’ or ‘over the counter’ (OTC) drugs and can be purchased without a doctor’s prescription, from pharmacies and from non-pharmacy retail outlets. Prevalence of self-medication in developing countries is in the range between 12.7 to 95%. Broader studies revealed that self-medication is commonly practiced by students especially those in the medicine related courses3,4.

 

Self-medications or over the counter (OTC) drugs currently play a major role in self-care, offering individuals the choice of making independent decisions regarding their own health. Self-medication has been traditionally defined as “the taking of drugs, herb or home remedies on one’s own initiative, or on the advice of another person, without consulting a doctor. Self-medication, as one element of self care, is the selection and use of medicines by individuals to treat self-recognized illness or symptoms5-7. It is an important response to illness that can be controlled in its early stage. The irrational use of medications may lead to harmful consequences including drug toxicity and drug interactions. In addition, the resistance of micro-organisms has been attributed to the misuse or overuse of antibiotics8.

 

Self-medication with antibiotics is defined as the acquisition of antibiotics and self-administering them with the aim of treating a perceived infection. Several studies in developed and developing countries indicate that the use of antibiotics during self-medication is a common practice worldwide. Some studies reported fever, common cold, sore throat, diarrhea are most common reason for self-medication with antibiotics9,10.

 

The presence of antibiotics as a prescription only medicine does not exclude a possibility that they can be used for self-medication. For this purpose, antibiotics can be obtained as the leftover from the previous prescription, community pharmacy, left over from friends or family members. Studies revealed that there was an increase in trends of self-medication particularly among the youth. Antibiotics are revolutionary major form of irrational use of medicines and can cause significant adverse effects such as resistance to micro-organisms, treatment failures, drug toxicity, increase in treatment cost, prolonged hospitalization periods and increase in morbidity11-13.

 

Advantages of Self Medication7,14:

·       Help to prevent and treat symptoms and ailments that do not require a doctor.

·       Reduce the pressure on medical services where health care personnel are insufficient.

·       May contribute to reduce prescribed drug costs associated with publicly funded health programs.

 

Disadvantages of Self Medication12,15:

·       Self medication is associated with risks such as misdiagnosis, use of excessive drug dosage, prolonged duration of use, drug interactions and polypharmacy.

·       The diagnosis may be wrong.

·       The drugs may cause side effects.

·       Financial losses - delayed recovery is ultimately more costly.

 

METHODOLOGY:

This was an observational descriptive, questionnaire based study undertaken in multidisciplinary undergraduate and postgraduate students of Dehradun community for duration of three months. Subjects who are not taking self-medication and those who do not gave consent to participate in the study were excluded from the study. A total of 220 students were initially screened and out of which 150 involved in self-medication use were analyzed for self-medication practice.

 

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION:

150 students were finally assessed regarding their knowledge, practice and perception of self-medication practice. From Figure 1, it was found that 88 (58.67%) female students were self-medicating which was comparatively higher than 62 (41.33%) male students. The self medication behavior was assessed among the different age groups. Table 1 showed that the age group 21-25 was more involved in self-medication practice (42%) as compared to other age groups. The evaluation and assessment of self-medication was done in students with different educational level. It was found that 115 (76.67%) undergraduate students and 35 (23.33%) postgraduate students were involved in the self-medication practice. Figure 2 showed that undergraduate students were self-medicating more as compared to postgraduate students.

 

Figure 1: Gender wise distribution

 

 

Table 1: Age wise distribution

S.No.

Age (Years)

No. of students (%) (n=150)

1.               

16-20

45 (30.00%)

2.               

21-25

63 (42.00%)

3.               

26-30

42 (28.00%)

 

Figure 2: Education wise distribution

 

The knowledge of self-medication was assessed among all the 220 students. Table 2 showed that female students (58.18%) are more familiar with the term self-medication as compared to male students (41.82%). The antibiotics taken during self-medication depend on the conditions for which they are being used. Table 3 showed that for the purpose of self-medication amoxicillin (14.66%) was most commonly used antibiotic; ofloxacin (14%) was second most commonly used antibiotic as compared to other categories of antibiotics. There were various sources of procurement for self-medication practice as shown in Figure 3. The maximum number of students (66.67%) obtained antibiotics from the community pharmacy counter while 26.67% students used left over antibiotics from previous prescription and 6.67% students used left over antibiotics from friends or family members. The antibiotics were being used for the different medical conditions as shown in Table 4. Fever (26.67%) was found to be the most common condition in which the students used antibiotics as self-medication.

 

Figure 3: Different sources for the procurement of antibiotics

Table 2:   Knowledge of self-medication practice

Particular

No. of students (%) (n=220)

Male

Female

Knowledge about self-medication

92 (41.82%)

128 (58.18%)

Table 3: Type of antibiotics taken as self-medication

S. No.

Name of the antibiotics used

No. of students (%)

1

Amoxicillin

22 (14.66%)

2

Ofloxacin

21 (14.00%)

3

Metronidazole

19 (12.66%)

4

Azithromycin

17 (11.33%)

5

Ciprofloxacin

16 (10.66%)

6

Cefixime

13 (8.66%)

7

Levofloxacin

11 (7.33%)

8

Erythromycin

10 (6.66%)

9

Fluconazole

08 (5.33%)

10

Clotrimazole

06 (4.00%)

11

Ampicillin

04 (2.66%)

12

Gentamicin

03 (2.00%)

 

Table 4: Medical conditions for which antibiotics is used

S. No.

Medical conditions

No. of students (%)

1

Fever

40 (26.67%)

2

Cold and flu

30 (20.00%)

3

Diarrhea

25 (16.67%)

4

Allergic conditions

23 (15.33%)

5

Fungal infections

15 (10.00%)

6

Throat infection

12 (8.00%)

7

Headache

05 (3.33%)

 

 

To check the perception level among the students about self-medication practice, Figure 4 showed that 33.33% students were disagree on the fact of practicing self-medication on all drugs while 30% were neither agree nor disagree, 23.33% were normally agree and remaining 13.33% were strongly agree on the statement. This resulted to show that majority of patients were aware that self-medication cannot be practiced on all the drugs. To analyze the perception related to self-medication practice versus hospital treatment, Figure 5 showed that 53.33% students were disagree that self-medication is better than going to hospital while 23.33% were neither agree nor disagree, 13.33% were strongly agree and remaining 10% were normally agree to the statement. This suggested that majority of students were aware that self-medication practice is not better than hospital treatment. Perception related to harmful effects of self-medication was analyzed in Figure 6 that shows that majority of students (46.67%) were aware of the harmful effects of self-medication. While some students (33.33%) were against the statement and 20% students were unaware of the cause of self-medication. Perception related to self-medication leading to addiction were assessed in Figure 7 that showed that maximum number of students (53.33%) were aware that self-medication can cause addiction while 13.33% were against the statement and 33.33% doesn’t know about the fact. Perception related to outcome of self-medication was analyzed in Table 5 which showed that 60% of the students were satisfied with the outcome of self-medication with antibiotics while remaining 40% were not satisfied with the outcome.


 

 

Figure 4: Perception related to self-medication practice on all drugs

 

 

Figure 5: Perception related to self-medication practice versus hospital treatment

 

 

Figure 6: Perception related to self-medication causing harmful effects

 

Figure 7: Perception related to self-medication leading to addiction


 

Table 5: Perception related to outcome of self-medication

S. No.

Were you satisfied with the results of self-medication using antibiotics

No. of students (%) (n=150)

1

Yes

90 (60.00%)

2

No

60 (40.00%)

 

CONCLUSION:

Self-medication is a very serious yet a highly ignored issue. There are too many risks involved in self-medication, especially when it turns to the regular practice. Generally there is lack of knowledge about the practice of self-medication itself and its implications. Educational health campaigns are required to increase the awareness and health care education among population for a safe and responsible practice. It was also observed that pharmacies are more utilized as the major source of self-medication than any other sources. Self-medication is a widely used practice; health professionals should make it safe by providing the people who are using it with sufficient knowledge about the main characteristics of the preferred drug: dose, treatment duration, and side effect can cause serious negative effects. It should be emphasized that antibiotics should be used only on medical prescriptions, for a defined period of time to treat specific medical conditions. Holistic approach should be taken to prevent this problem, which includes proper awareness and education regarding self-medication and pharmaceutical products. The practice of self-medication on the basis of incomplete knowledge should be avoided and education must be provided to those students who are treating themselves with self-medication practice without any advice of qualified physicians.

 

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Received on 17.06.2019            Modified on 11.07.2019

Accepted on 31.07.2019            © A&V Publications All right reserved

Asian J. Res. Pharm. Sci. 2019; 9(3): 181-185.

DOI: 10.5958/2231-5659.2019.00028.6