Self Medication In Students’ Population

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Self Medication In Students’ Population

  1. 1. Self-medication in student population Presentation of 2008 survey results Žiga Hladnik and Janko Kersnik Bled 20.9. 2008
  2. 2. Method • Cross-sectional type of survey in a form of web based questionnaire • Self developed questions consisted of several parts: ∀ • demographical data ∀ • relationship toward health as a value and trust to different sources of health information ∀ • health status ∀ • self-medication and other self-treatment practices • Sampling procedure with emphasis on direct contact trough internal mailing lists • Data statistically analysed with SPSS 16.0
  3. 3. Results: Demography • Total number of participants: 1294 • Mean age: 22.4 (SD=3.24) • Gender: Men Women No. 303 991 % 23.4 76.6 • School: Med. Pharm. Engin, Health Biotec Educ Arts Oth. geode Care No. 300 194 129 125 114 110 87 235 % 23.2 15.0 10.0 9.7 8.8 8.5 6.7 18.2 • Study year: Year 1 2 3 4 5 6 Cand. grad. No. 278 312 243 152 47 35 195 % 21.5 24.1 18.8 11.7 3.6 2.7 15.1
  4. 4. Results: Attitude to self-medication • Students were asked to choose one of four statements that most closely describe their attitude towards self-medication practice.   N (1294=100%) Self-medication is the method of choice 755 (58.3%) for treating some symptoms Self-medication is the method of choice for all 332 (25.7%) symptoms. If my condition does not improve I can still visit a doctor. Self-medication is the right method but only if 173 (13.4%) I get this advice from a doctor or a pharmacist Self-medication is not the right method 34 (2.6%) because I can miss a serious disease if I do not visit a doctor
  5. 5. Results: Frequency of self-medication • The definition of self-medication was presented and students were asked if they used self-medication in the last year. N (1294=100%) Yes 1195 (92.3%) No 85 (6.6%) I do not know 14 (1.1%)
  6. 6. Results: Length of self-medication • The question was to determine the length of self-medication believed to be the appropriate one without an improvement of the symptoms. Six time periods were presented and the students were asked to choose one. N (1294=100%) ≤1 day 50 (3.9%) ≤1 week 810 (62.6%) ≤2 weeks 216 (16.7%) ≤1 month 78 (6.0%) ≤½ year 24 (1.9%) >½ year 25 (1.9%) I do not know 91 (7.0%)
  7. 7. Results: Reasons for self-medication • Seven potentially important reasons were presented and participants were asked to rate them on a Likert scale from 1-7. (1 – not important; 7 – very important). Mean I have mild problems and I think it is not necessary to 5.76 visit a doctor I was informed by a doctor or a pharmacist that my 4.31 symptoms are suitable for self-medication I want to have a more active role considering my health 3.76 I was informed by relatives, friends, media, … that my 3.19 symptoms are suitable for self-medication I do not want to visit a doctor due to long waiting time 2.90 The doctor did not treat my problems successfully 2.40 I do not trust my doctor 1.84
  8. 8. Results: The use of drugs and other procedures for self-medication • The number of participants that reported the use of the drug or a procedure without consulting a doctor. N (1294=100%) Herbal tea 903 (69.8%) Herbs 822 (63.5%) Vitamins and minerals 809 (62.5%) Non prescription or OTC 655 (50.6%) drugs Diet 584 (45.1%) Prescription medicines 272 (21.0%) Drugs from the healer 90 (7.0%) Homeopathic drugs 80 (6.2%) Mass gain supplements 38 (2.9%)
  9. 9. Results: Symptoms and signs that are frequently self-medicated • We presented 29 common health problems and asked students to select how they cope with them. Ten symptoms and signs that were most frequently self-treated or left untreated are presented. N (1294=100%) Headache 1186 (91.7%) Nasal discharge 1137 (87.9%) Fatigue/tiredness 1115 (86.2%) Cough 1085 (83.8%) Diarrhoea 1048 (81.0%) Raised body temperature 1014 (78.4%) Common cold and flu 1003 (77.5%) Mild to moderate pain in muscles 978 (75.6%) and joints Sore throat 873 (67.5%) Vomiting 861(66.5%)
  10. 10. Conclusion • Self-medication is widely used among student population • Herbal tea, vitamins and minerals, herbs and non- prescription drugs are most commonly used without consultation of a doctor • The health related problems that students reported they treated by themselves are all a part of the group of most frequently encountered self limiting problems • Students have fairly good knowledge when and how long self-medication is appropriate but the fact that more than 25% of participants would self-treat all symptoms or signs is a reason for concern
  11. 11. Limitations • The interpretation of the results should be careful due to: -Unknown response rate -Unknown number of students without access to the computer • But a large number of participating students from specific schools gives validity and reliability of the results and allows us to draw generalizing conclusions.
  12. 12. Acknowledgement • We are thankful to all the participating students. • We acknowledge great support of GFK Slovenija tržne raziskave d.o.o. by providing us a platform free of charge.

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