Survey on common trends for non-prescribed medication use among the young generation in Dhaka, Bangladesh: A cross sectional study

M. Imran Nur Manik, Alam Khan, M. Hazrat Ali, Abu Zobayed, M. Monirul Islam


Background: Use of drugs without prescription is a worldwide phenomenon especially among the general people in the developing countries. Alarmingly the use of medication without prescriptions among the young generations for longer duration is increasing day by day. The study was meant to evaluate the prevalence of non-prescribed medications among the young generations living in the capital of Bangladesh.

Methods: It was a cross-sectional survey conducted in the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) from September-November, 2019. Data was collected from patients having self-administration of drugs with semi-structured questionnaire in English and analysed applying descriptive statistics.

Results: The study revealed the occurrence of non-prescription medication use among 75% of the respondents (N=400). The participants were students (67%), service holder (19%) and housewife (9%). Male and female were 49% and 51%; aged between 15-35 years (average 25.8 years). Mostly used medication groups were NSAIDs (34%), antacids (24%) and antibiotics (17%). Duration was more than one year 206 (69%) and from six to twelve months 94 (31%). The compliance reported as better (62.33%) and extremely good (34.33%). The crucial diseases treated were fever (27.73%), gastric acidity (22.13%), headache and other pains (15.13%), dysentery and diarrhea (8.68%) and allergy (8.40%). Interestingly 42% participants suggested their medication to others.

Conclusions: In the young generation occurrence of non-prescribed medication is highest amidst the students. The authority should assure rational use of medications. The DGDA may campaign against the haphazard use of medicines involving the young generations.



Bangladesh, DSCC, Non-prescribed medicine, Young generations

Full Text:



Holloway K, van Dijk L. The World Medicines Situation 2011 Rational Use of Medicines. 3rd edition. World Health Organization, Health Action International global. Geneva Switzerland: WHO Press; 2011. Available at: Accessed on 10 January 2021.

World Health Organization. Guidelines for the regulatory assessment of medicinal products for use in self-medication. World Health Organization. 2000. Available at: Accessed on 10 January 2021.

Hernandez-Juyol M, Job-Quesada JR. Dentistry and self-medication: a current challenge. Med Oral. 2002;7 (5):344‑7.

Kayalvizhi S, Senapathi R. Evaluation of the perception, attitude and practice of self medication among business students in 3 select cities, south India. IJEIMS. 2010:1(3):40-4.

Abubakar AR, Simbak NB, Haque M. Adverse drug reactions: predisposing factors, modern classifications and causality assessment. Res J Pharm Tech. 2014;7(9):1091-8.

Laporte JR. Self medication: does information to users increase at the same rate as consumption. Med Clin. 1997;109(20):795-6.

Babu MM. Factors contributing to the purchase of over the counter (OTC) drugs in Bangladesh: an empirical study. Internet J Third World Med. 2008;6(2):9-24.

Roy J. Health status, treatment and drug use in rural Bangladesh: a case study of a village. Aust J Rural Health. 1997;5(2):70-5.

Chowdhury N, Matin F, Chowdhury SF. Medication taking behaviour of the students of a private university in Bangladesh. Int J Adolesc Med Health. 2009;21(3):361-70.

World Medical Association. World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki: ethical principles for medical research involving human subjects. JAMA. 2013;310(20):2191-4.

Bangladesh bureau of statistics. 37th edition. Statistical Year Book Bangladesh 2017: Statistics and informatics division (SID), ministry of planning government of the people’s republic of Bangladesh Dhaka, Bangladesh. 2018:35.

Sawalha AF. Assessment of self-medication practice among university students in Palestine: therapeutic and toxicity implications. Islamic Univ J. 2007;15(2):67-82.

Nasir M, Zahan T, Parvin RA. Comparative study on knowledge, attitude and practice of self-medication among the medical and non-medical undergraduate students in Dhaka city. WJPLS. 2017;4(3):17-20.

Smeulers M, Verweij L, Maaskant JM, de Boer M, Krediet CT, Nieveen van Dijkum EJ, et al. Quality indicators for safe medication preparation and administration: a systematic review. PLoS One. 2015;10(4):e0122695.

Ramay BM, Lambour P, Ceron A. Comparing antibiotic self-medication in two socio-economic groups in Guatemala City: a descriptive cross-sectional study. BMC Pharmacol Toxicol. 2015;16:11.

Grigoryan L, Haaijer-Ruskamp FM, Burgerhof JG, Mechtler R, Deschepper R, Tambic-Andrasevic A, et al. Self-medication with antimicrobial drugs in Europe. Emerg Infect Dis. 2006;12(3):452-9.

Mosaddek AS, Haque M, Islam Z, Sharmin ZR, Sharmin R, Rahman MF, et al. Practice of self-medication among students of a selected medical college of Dhaka City, Bangladesh. Int Med J. 2017;24(2):225-9.

Barker A, Verhoeven K, Ahsan M, Alam S, Sharma P, Sengupta S, et al. Social determinants of patient antibiotic misuse in Haryana, India. J Investig Med. 2016;64(4): 935.

CDC (2019). Antibiotics resistance threats in the United States. US department of health and human services centers for disease control and prevention. Available at: pdf/threats-report/2019-ar-threats-report-508.pdf. Accessed on 10 January 2021.

World Health Organization. Antimicrobial Resistance Global Report on Surveillance. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Press; 2014. Available at: 112647/WHO_HSE_PED_AIP_2014.2_eng.pdf. Accessed on 10 January 2021.

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

Sawair FA, Baqain ZH, Abu Karaky A, Abu Eid R. Assessment of self-medication of antibiotics in a Jordanian population. Med Princ Pract. 2009;18(1):21-5.

Zafar SN, Syed R, Waqar S, Zubairi AJ, Vaqar T, Shaikh M, Self-medication amongst university students of Karachi: prevalence, knowledge and attitudes. J Pak Med Assoc. 2008;58(4):214-7.

De Bolle L, Mehuys E, Adriaens E, Remon JP, Van Bortel L, Christiaens T. Home medication cabinets and self-medication: a source of potential health threats? Ann Pharmacother. 2008;42(4):572-9.

Bennadi D. Self-medication: a current challenge. J Basic Clin Pharm. 2013;5(1):19-23.