Journal of Family & Community Medicine
Home About us Editorial board Search Ahead of print Current issue Archives Submit article Instructions Subscribe Contact us Login 
 

Users Online: 1040 Home Print this page Email this page Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size

 

 Table of Contents 
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 125-129  

Pattern of self-medication with analgesics among Iranian University students in central Iran


1 Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Qom University of Medical Sciences, Qom, Iran
2 Department of Pharmacology, School of Para-medicine, Qom University of Medical Sciences, Qom, Iran
3 Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, School of Pharmacy, An-Najah National University, Nablus, Palestine
4 Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Urmia University of Medical Sciences, Urmia, Iran
5 Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

Date of Web Publication10-Jul-2012

Correspondence Address:
Shadi Sarahroodi
School of Medicine, Golestan St., Second St., Moallem Sharghi Ave., Qom
Iran
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: This project was granted by the Qom University of Medical Sciences as an HSR research in Qom state, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2230-8229.98302

Rights and Permissions
   Abstract 

Background: Self-medication is defined as the use of drugs for the treatment of self-diagnosed disorders. It is influenced by factors such as education, family, society, law, availability of drugs and exposure to advertisements. This study was performed to evaluate self-medication with analgesics and its pattern among different groups of Iranian University Students. Materials and Methods: A randomized, cross-sectional, multicenter study was conducted from December 2009 to February 2010. The target population of this study was 564 students out of 10,000 students attending four medical and non-medical science universities in Qom state. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 16, and analysis was conducted with descriptive analysis procedures. Results: 76.6% of the students had used analgesics in self-medication in the previous 3 months. The frequency of analgesic use in the study period was once in 19.2% of the participants, twice in 22.2%, three times in 16.3% and more than three times in 35.5% of the participants, although 6.8% of them were not sure when they were used. Of all the respondents, 49.8% reported headache as the problem. This was the most common problem, after which came Dysmenorrhea,headache and stomach ache. Bone and joint pains were other problems that led to the use of analgesics. The most commonly used source of information for self-medication with analgesics was advice from friends and family (54.7%), previously prescribed medications (30.1%), their medical knowledge (13.3%) and recommendation of a pharmacist (1.9%). Conclusion: Self-medication with analgesics is very high among Iranian students in Qom city. This could be an index for other parts of the Iranian community. Because the source of information about analgesics is inappropriate, we would recommend education courses about analgesics and self-medication on the radio and television for the entire population.

Keywords: Analgesics, Iran, students, self-medication


How to cite this article:
Sarahroodi S, Maleki-Jamshid A, Sawalha AF, Mikaili P, Safaeian L. Pattern of self-medication with analgesics among Iranian University students in central Iran. J Fam Community Med 2012;19:125-9

How to cite this URL:
Sarahroodi S, Maleki-Jamshid A, Sawalha AF, Mikaili P, Safaeian L. Pattern of self-medication with analgesics among Iranian University students in central Iran. J Fam Community Med [serial online] 2012 [cited 2017 Jun 22];19:125-9. Available from: http://www.jfcmonline.com/text.asp?2012/19/2/125/98302


   Introduction Top


Self-medication is an old problem worldwide, [1] and is defined as the use of drugs for the treatment of self-diagnosed disorders or symptoms. It is also the intermittent or continued use of a drug prescribed by a physician for chronic or recurrent symptoms. [2]

It is influenced by various factors, such as education, family, society, law, availability of drugs and exposure to advertisements. [3]

Governments and health authorities have to ensure that self-medication is performed in a responsible manner, and establish that only safe drugs are made available over the counter (OTC) and that patients are given adequate information about drug usage, their contraindications and side-effects. [4]

Appropriate self-medication can relieve medical problems and save time spent waiting to see a doctor. This could save money and even lives in acute conditions. It is also accepted that responsible self-medication for self-care could be beneficial to healthcare providers, pharmaceutical industries, governments and patients. [5] It has also been pointed out by the WHO that responsible self-medication could be helpful in the prevention and treatment of ailments that do not require medical consultation and provide a cheaper alternative treatment for common illnesses. [6]

The use of analgesics is widespread worldwide. [7] Some analgesics are categorized as OTC drugs and some are not. Side-effects experienced may vary with different people , and overuse could be harmful. [8] These problems could be minimized by raising people's awareness of the indications, contraindications and side-effects of these drugs. The level of self-medication reported in Iran and comparable countries is high. [2],[8],[9],[10],[11],[12] However, there is no report on self-medication of analgesics in Iran, especially in the young population.

The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and quality of self-medication with analgesics and assess this problem among different college students in Qom city as a sample community in the central part of Iran.


   Materials and Methods Top


A random cross-sectional study was conducted in four medical sciences (Qom University of Medical Sciences and Azad University) and non-medical sciences (Qom University, Azad University and Mofid University) universities in Qom state from December 2009 to February2010 These four universities, with a total population of about 10,000 students, are the most important universities in Qom province. A total of 564 students chosen by simple random sampling participated in this study.

The questionnaire that consisted of open- and closed-ended questions in the Persian language was used for this study. All respondents were native Persian speakers. There was a total of 18 questions on socio-demographic characteristics, patterns of self-medication with analgesics, type of the most used analgesics, source of information regarding analgesics, health condition that led to the use of an analgesic without prescription and source of analgesics preparation. [10],[11] The questionnaire was pre-tested and validated, [8],[9],[10],[11] and the Ethics Committee of Qom University of Medical Sciences approved the study protocol.

The survey was conducted by two trained paramedical sciences students. The respondents completed a self-administered questionnaire and the researcher was present during completion in case the respondents required assistance. On completion, the data was reviewed, organized, tabulated and analyzed by SPSS version 16. Descriptive analysis was conducted by calculating means and proportions for continuous and discrete data, respectively. The χ2 test and independent T test were used to test statistical significance. The limit for statistically significant differences was P <0.05.


   Results Top


A total of 564 university students agreed to participate in our random cross-sectional study (simple randomized sampling) and filled the questionnaire, giving the response rate of 99.8%. [Table 1] shows the demographic characteristics of participants, 54.6% of whom were females (n= 308)and 45.4% males (n = 256). Of the students, 44.9% were studying in medical courses (Medicine, Para Medicine, Hygiene, Nursing, Midwifery, etc.) and 55.1% were in different fields of non-medical courses (Basic Sciences, Engineering, Financing, Literature, Law, etc.). Most of the participants (66.8%) lived with their families, while 33.2% of them were in dormitories and other students' accommodation [Table 1].
Table 1: Demographic characteristics of the participants

Click here to view


The prevalence of analgesic self-medication within the 3 months of the study period was 76.6% (n = 432) of the respondents [Table 2], with 73.4% male and 79.2% female students [Table 3]. There was no significant difference (P = 0.1) in self-medication with analgesics between male and female students.
Table 2: Self-medication characteristics of participants in the previous 3 months

Click here to view
Table 3: Correlation of gender and self-medication with analgesics

Click here to view


This problem was found in 44.7% of medical and 55.3% of non-medical sciences students. There was no significant difference (P = 0.91) between these two groups.

The frequency of analgesic use was once in 19.2% (n = 82), twice in 22.2% (n = 95), three times in 16.3% (n = 70) and more than three times in 35.5% (n = 152) of the students in the study period. Also, 11.4% of them self-medicated with analgesics once a day, 8.6% once a week, 24.8% once a month and 55.2% more than once a month [Table 2].

As shown in [Table 4], analgesic use via self-medication was not significantly different between students who lived with their families (78.5%) and those who lived in dormitories (74.9%) (P > 0.05).
Table 4: Correlation of self-medication with analgesics and residence

Click here to view


Of the illnesses that led the respondents to self-medicate with analgesics, the most common were 49.8% headache (52.7% of female and 47.3% of male students), 9.5% dysmenorrhea 7.4% head and stomach ache, 5.5% joint pain and pain in the bones,4.2% stomach ache and 4.1% fever [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Medical conditions that caused students to self-medicate with analgesics Other causes: common cold, influenza, pain in muscles and other reasons.

Click here to view


The most common source of information relied on by respondents was friends and family or advice from other people (54.7%). Previous prescriptions of medications by practitioners (doctors) (30.1%) were the other sources of information in self-medication with analgesics [Figure 2]. Also, most participants obtained the analgesics they used from drugstores (64.9%), and residual drugs in the home (17.9%), friends and family (12.8%) or other sources (4.4%).

Acetaminophen (59.6%) was the most common self-medicated analgesic used by students, followed by acetaminophen codeine (28.7%) and Iboprofen (4.8%) [Figure 3].
Figure 2: Source of information on self-medications with analgesics as reported by students

Click here to view
Figure 3: Type of self-medicated analgesics used by students
Others: Mefenamic acid, Naproxen, Tramadol


Click here to view



   Discussion Top


The population of this study consisted of medical and non-medical university students. They were all Iranian, and most lived with their families. They were, therefore, all young people, with similar sociocultural backgrounds. [10]

The data demonstrates that analgesic self-medication was high among students of universities in Qom state (a central state of Iran). The study showed that 76.6% of the respondents self-medicated with analgesics once or more than once in the 3 months of the study. Some higher rates were reported by Bahrain university students (81.3%) [13] and some lower rates reported by students in the UK (20%) [14] and Germany (40%). [15] This variation could be partly due to the differences in study design; both studies in UK and Germany were of high school children, but ours and the Bahraini study were of college students.

However, the selection of samples with sociocultural backgrounds, study design and the measurement timeframe can influence study results. [1]

Our findings generally revealed no significant difference in self-medication with analgesics between male and female students. However, the symptoms that led to self-medication were different (headache for men and dysmenorrhea and headache for women). These findings are in agreement with an earlier study of university students in Bahrain. [13] However, there are data from Spain, [16] Brazil, [17] and Kuwait, [18] indicating higher self-medication among women.

It was rather unusual that there was also no significant difference in the prevalence of self-medication between medical and non-medical students. This finding is in agreement with three studies done in Pakistan, [19] Slovenia, [20] and Mozambique, [21] and in contrast with a study in Palestine. [22]

The reason could be that non-medical students, their friends and families are as knowledgeable about medicines as medical students.

Residence in this study had no significant association with self-medication with analgesics among students. Results of other studies vary, in that in a study in Spain, self-medication was more frequent among those who lived alone, [16] but there was no significant association of self-medication with residence in the study in Brazil. [23]

In summary, self-medication with analgesics is highly prevalent among Iranian college students in Qom city, and we believe that it could represent college students in general in Iran. However, we suggest a complete study on self-medication in Iran. We suggest that students be made aware of the potentially dangerous effects of self-medication and the side-effects of various analgesics. Student health groups in universities could help in promoting awareness o these issues in their friends with the help of pharmacists or physicians. The production of multimedia programs or animations could be helpful in improving the knowledge of the entire community about the potential dangers of self-medication.

Limitations

The main limitation of this study is that it was a cross-sectional survey. Therefore, it illuminates the current situation, which may differ in other seasons.


   Acknowledgment Top


The authors would like to thank the students of Qom University of Medical Sciences, Qom University, Azad Qom University and Mofid University for making this study possible. This project was granted by the Qom University of Medical Sciences.

 
   References Top

1.Barros A, Griep R, Rotenberg L. Self-medication among nursing workers from public hospitals. Rev Lat Am Enfermagem 2009;17:1015-22.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.Awad A, Eltayeb I, Matowe L, Thalib L. Self-medication with antibiotics and antimalarials in the community of Khartoum State, Sudan. J Pharm Pharm Sci 2005;8:326-31.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.Habeeb GE, JG G. Common patient symptoms: Patterns of self treatment and prevention. J Miss State Med Assoc 1993;34:179-81.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.Hughes C, McElnay J, Fleming G. Benefits and risks of self medication. Drug Safety. Netherlands: Adis International; 2001. p. 1027-37.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.Major S, Badr S, Bahlawan L, Hassan G, Khogaoghlanian T, Khalil R, et al. Drug-related hospitalization at a tertiary teaching center in Lebanon: Incidence, associations, and relation to self-medicating behaviorandast. Clin Pharmacol Ther 1998;64:450-61.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.WHO WHO. Report of theWHO Expert Committee on National Drug Policies. 1995.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.McLaughlin J, Lipworth L, Chow W, Blot W. Analgesic use and chronic renal failure: A critical review of the epidemiologic literature. Kidney Int 1998;54:679-86.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.Sweileh W, Sawalha A, Zyoud S, Al-Jabi S, Shamseh F, Khalaf H. Epidemiological, clinical and pharmacological aspects of headache in a university undergraduate population in Palestine. Cephalalgia 2010;30:439-46.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.Al-Azzam S, Al-Husein B, Alzoubi F, Masadeh M, Al-Horani M. Self-medication with antibiotics in Jordanian population. Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2007;20:373-80.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.Sarahroodi S, Arzi A. Self medication with antibiotics, is it a problem among Iranian college students in Tehran. J Biol Sci 2009;9:829-32.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.Sarahroodi S, Arzi A, Sawalha A, Ashtarinezhad A. Antibiotics self-medication among southern iranian university students. Int J Pharmacol 2010;6:48-52.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.Volpato D, Souza B, Dalla Rosa L, Melo L, Daudt C, Deboni L. Use of antibiotics without medical prescription. Braz J Infect Dis 2005;9:288- 91.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.James H, Handu S, KA AK, Otoom A, Sequeira R. Evaluation of the knowledge, attitude and practice of self-medication among first-year medical students. Med Princ Pract 2006;15:270-5.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.Dengler R, Roberts H. Adolescents' use of prescribed drugs and over-the-counter preparations. J Public Health 1996;18:437.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
15.Du Y, Knopf H. Self medication among children and adolescents in Germany: results of the National Health Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS). Br J Clin Pharmacol 2009;68:599-608.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
16.Figueiras A, Caamano F, Gestal-Otero J. Sociodemographic factors related to self-medication in Spain. Eur J Epidemiol 2000;16:19-26.  Back to cited text no. 16
    
17.Sá MB, Barros JAC, Sá MPBO Automedicação em idosos na cidade de Salgueiro - PE. Rev Bras Epidemiol 2007;10:75-85.  Back to cited text no. 17
    
18.Abahussain E, Matowe L, Nicholls P. Self-reported medication use among adolescents in Kuwait. Med Princ Pract 2005;14:161-4.  Back to cited text no. 18
    
19.Zafar SN, Syed R, Waqar S, Zubairi AJ, Vaqar I, Shaikh M, et al. Self-medication amongst university students of Karachi: prevalence, knowledge and attitudes. J Pak Med Assoc 2008;58:214.  Back to cited text no. 19
    
20.Klemenc-Ketis Z, Hladnik Z, Kersnik J. Self-medication among healthcare and non-healthcare students at University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. Med Princ Pract 2010;19:395-401.  Back to cited text no. 20
    
21.Lucas R, Lunet N, Carvalho R, Langa J, Muanantatha M, Nkunda LP, et al. Patterns in the use of medicines by university students in Maputo, Mozambique. Cad Saúde Pública 2007;23:2845-52.  Back to cited text no. 21
    
22.Sawalha AF. A descriptive study of self-medication practices among Palestinian medical and nonmedical university students. Res Soc Adm Pharm 2008;4:164-72.  Back to cited text no. 22
    
23.Loyola Filho A, Uchoa E, Guerra H, Firmo J, Lima-costa M. Prevalencia e fatores associados a automedicacao: resultados do projeto Bambui. Rev Saude Publica 2002;36:55-62.  Back to cited text no. 23
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]
 
 
    Tables

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


This article has been cited by
1 Self-Medication in University Students from the City of Mansoura, Egypt
R. M. Helal,H. S. Abou-ElWafa
Journal of Environmental and Public Health. 2017; 2017: 1
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Self-Administration of Medicines and Dietary Supplements Among Female Amateur Runners: A Cross-Sectional Analysis
Médéa Locquet,Charlotte Beaudart,Robert Larbuisson,Victoria Leclercq,Fanny Buckinx,Jean-François Kaux,Jean-Yves Reginster,Olivier Bruyère
Advances in Therapy. 2016;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
3 Adherence to Antihypertensive Medications in Iranian Patients
Azin Behnood-Rod,Omid Rabbanifar,Pirouz Pourzargar,Alireza Rai,Zahra Saadat,Habibollah Saadat,Yashar Moharamzad,Donald E. Morisky
International Journal of Hypertension. 2016; 2016: 1
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
4 The Epidemiology of Exertional Headache in the General Population of Tehran, Iran
Behnam Rabiee,Payam Mohammadinejad,Ramin Kordi,Masud Yunesian
Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain. 2015; 55(9): 1225
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
5 Knowledge, attitudes and practices concerning self-medication with antibiotics among university students in western China
Bing Lv,Zhongliang Zhou,Guiping Xu,Dingkun Yang,Lina Wu,Qian Shen,Minghuan Jiang,Xiao Wang,Guilan Zhao,Shimin Yang,Yu Fang
Tropical Medicine & International Health. 2014; 19(7): 769
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
6 Perceptions and Practices of Self-Medication among Medical Students in Coastal South India
Nithin Kumar,Tanuj Kanchan,Bhaskaran Unnikrishnan,T. Rekha,Prasanna Mithra,Vaman Kulkarni,Mohan Kumar Papanna,Ramesh Holla,Surabhi Uppal,Redhwan Ahmed Al Naggar
PLoS ONE. 2013; 8(8): e72247
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
7 Self-medication with Antibiotics: A Global Challenge of Our Generation
S. Sarahroodi,P. Mikaili
Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences. 2012; 15(14): 707
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
8 Effects of Nepeta menthoides Aqueous Extract on Retention and Retrieval of Memory in Mice
S. Sarahroodi,R. Jafari-Naj,S. Nasri,K. Rohampour,A. Maleki-Jam,S. Esmaeili
Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences. 2012; 15(22): 1085
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
9 Use of and factors associated with self-treatment in China
Li Yuefeng,Rao Keqin,Ren Xiaowei
BMC Public Health. 2012; 12(1): 995
[Pubmed] | [DOI]



 

Top
 
 
  Search
 
    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

 
  In this article
    Abstract
   Introduction
    Materials and Me...
   Results
   Discussion
   Acknowledgment
    References
    Article Figures
    Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    Viewed3762    
    Printed81    
    Emailed0    
    PDF Downloaded655    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 9    

Recommend this journal

Advertise | Sitemap | What's New | Feedback | Disclaimer
© Journal of Family and Community Medicine | Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow
Online since 05th September, 2010