Patterns and attitudes of self-medication practices and possible role of community pharmacists in Palestine

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Journal Title, Volume, Page: 
International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 51(7): 562-7.
Year of Publication: 
2013
Authors: 
Rowa Al Ramahi
Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, An-Najah National University, Nablus, Palestine
Current Affiliation: 
Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, An-Najah National University, Nablus, Palestine
Preferred Abstract (Original): 

PURPOSE:
This research aims to describe the extent of self-medication, assess possible factors associated with it, identify patients' reasons for self-medication and their attitudes towards the role of pharmacists in self-care so that future interventions can be documented and planned.
METHODS:
A cross-sectional study using a questionnaire was conducted. Questionnaires were distributed randomly to 565 persons from all over the West Bank. The questionnaire covered self-medication purchases and experience with minor illnesses.
RESULTS:
From 565 people approached. 400 (70.8%) agreed to participate in the study Self-medication was reported by 87.0% (n = 348) of cases interviewed, among them 224 (56.0%) used at least one medication without consulting a doctor in the previous month. Analgesics were the most common class used in self-medication by 317 (79.2%) respondents, followed by flu medications (233, 45.3%), and antibiotics (132, 33.0%). The majority reported that they selected medications based on selfdecision and previous use (233, 58.2%). Advice received from pharmacists was another important factor in 216 (54.0%). The most common reasons for self-medication were: their ailments being minor (341, 85.2%) and they had this medical problem before 198 (49.5%). Among 397 respondents, 335 (84.4%) either strongly agreed or agreed that the community pharmacists play an important role in providing advice - when needed - for self-medication.
CONCLUSIONS:
Self-medication practices have been common among people in Palestine. There has been a high rate of using antibiotics without prescription, which requires suitable regulations and interventions to solve this problem. The results have shown a positive attitude towards the role of pharmacists in self-care. Community pharmacists have the potential to make a huge impact in ensuring that medicines are used appropriately.

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