Prevalence and pattern of self-medication among urban population Chidambaram: a cross-sectional study

R. Gowthaman, A. Viknesh Ambayiram


Background: Self-medication as the selection and use of medicines by the individuals to treat self-recognised illness or symptoms. Self-medication is recognised as a part of self-care. The objectives of this study was to find out the prevalence of self-medication in an urban Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, to find out the pattern of self-medication with regard to its practice and to find out the reasons favoring the practice of self-medication.

Methods: The cross-sectional study was carried out in the month of September 2018 in a randomly selected urban field practice area of a tertiary care hospital. The sample size was calculated to be 360. Data was collected from all the houses in the selected field practice area. The data collected was entered into Microsoft excel spread sheet 2018 and analysis was done using SPSS version 21.

Results: Self-medication was practiced by 195 (48.75%) of the households and 215 (18.6%) of the study participants. 42.1% reported pharmacist as source of knowledge. Most common symptom/sign for which self-medication was practiced was fever (42%). Most commonly (57.9%) used self-medicament was non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents. Antibiotics were used by 15.4% as self- medicament. Among the 195 households practising self-medication, 65 (33.3%) reported that accessibility to pharmacy was more than that of clinic as reason for practicing self-medication.

Conclusions: The usage of antibiotics as self-medicament and decreased awareness regarding the side effects of self-medicaments indicated decreased practice of responsible self-medication in the study area. More studies have to be conducted regarding the awareness, barriers and facilitators for practicing responsible self-medication.


Self-medication, Pattern, Prevalence, Responsible self-medication

Full Text:



Abahussain E, Matowe LK, Nicholls PJ. Self-reported medication use among adolescents in Kuwait. Med Princ Pract. 2005;14(3):161–4.

World Health Organization: The role of the pharmacist in self-care and self-medication. Report of the 4th WHO Consultative Group on the Role of the Pharmacist. The Hague, 1998. Available at: dap/who-dap-98–13/who-dap-98–13.pdf. Accessed on 15 February 2019.

Helal RM, Abou-Elwafa HS. Self-medication in university students from the city of mansoura, Egypt. J Environ Public Health. 2017;2017.

Hughes CM, McElany JC, Fleming GF. Benefits and risks of self-medication. Drug Saf. 2001;24(14):1027–37.

Ayalew MB. Self-medication practice in Ethiopia : a systematic review. 2017;401–13.

Selvaraj K, Kumar SG, Ramalingam A. Prevalence of self-medication practices and its associated factors in Urban Puducherry, India. Perspect Clin Res. 2014;5(1):32.

Rahmawati R, Bajorek B V. Self-medication among people living with hypertension: A review. Fam Pract. 2017;34(2):147–53.

Pons EDS, Knauth DR, Vigo Á, Mengue SS, Gadelha CAG, Costa KS, et al. Predisposing factors to the practice of self-medication in Brazil: Results from the National Survey on Access, Use and Promotion of Rational Use of Medicines (PNAUM). PLoS One. 2017;12(12):1–12.

Keshari SS, Prinyanka Kesarwani MM. Prevalence and Pattern of Self-medication Practices in Rural Area of Barabanki. Indian J Clin Pract. 2014;25(7):636–9.

Kumar V, Mangal A, Yadav G, Raut D, Singh S. Prevalence and pattern of self-medication practices in an urban area of Delhi, India. Med J Dr DY Patil Univ. 2015;8(1):16.

Berufsfachschule D, Schule U, Aufnahmekapazit D, Ausbildung D, Unterricht D, Reife M, et al. Staatliche Berufsfachschule für Physiotherapie. 2012;31(5):1241–5.