SELF-MEDICATION AMONG DENTAL UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS: A GROWING CONCERNAbstract
Background: Self-medication is an important component of self-care. Though it is widely practiced globally, very few studies have evaluated its pattern and prevalence in dental students.
Aim: The study was conducted to compare pattern of self-medication practices between junior and senior dental undergraduate students.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional, anonymous, descriptive study with a six month illness recall that evaluated two groups of dental students- Group I: second year BDS students who were unexposed to pharmacology subject; Group 2: students pursuing internship (interns) having a sound knowledge of pharmacology. A questionnaire consisting of both open and close ended questions related to various aspects of self-medication was handed to the students. Consenting students anonymously filled the questionnaire. Comparison between the two groups was done by two- tailed Chi-square test. P values<0.05 were considered as statistically significant.
Results: A total of 167 students participated in the study.90% respondents in group 1 (second year) and 94% respondents in group 2 (interns) practiced self-medication. Illnesses for which self-medication was practiced included fever (76% vs. 78%) and pain (46% vs.67%; p<0.05) followed by common cold and cough (37% vs. 47%). Lack of time (61% vs.72%) and simplicity of illness (63% vs. 72%) were two major factors resulting in self-medication. Parents (71% vs.54%), previous prescription records (21% vs.38%) and pharmacists (24% vs.15%) were the main guiding source of self-medication. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) were the most commonly used drug group followed by antihistamines (28% vs.38%) and antibiotics (12%vs. 27%).
Conclusion: Self-medication is widely practiced among dental students. Prevalence of self-medication was more in senior dental students than their juniors. However, practice of self-medication was inappropriate in both the groups. Therefore, there is a pressing need to create awareness about risks and adverse consequences of self-medication in order to ensure rational and safe use of drugs.
Department of Pharmacology, Dr. Harvansh Singh Judge Institute of Dental Sciences, Panjab University, Sector 25, Chandigarh (UT), India
06 December, 2012
10 January, 2013
21 March, 2013
01 April, 2013