Self-medication Practices among Medical and Non-medical Students of Siddharthanagar, Nepal during COVID-19 Pandemic.
Keywords:Medical and Non-medical students;Self medication; Web based questionnaire
Introduction: Self-medication is an essential component of the health care system that involves using drugs to treat self-diagnosed symptoms without consulting a medical practitioner. In the background of the COVID-19 pandemic, self-medication has increased among the general public, including students. Hence, the present study was undertaken to find the differences between medical and non-medical students regarding the prevalence, pattern, and attitude of self-medication practice.
Methods: A cross-sectional web-based study was executed among medical students and non-medical students of Siddharthanagar, Nepal, between August 2020 and January 2021. A pretested Google linked questionnaire was circulated through the Student Forum on social media to collect the data. Chi-square test was used to compare the two groups.
Results: Of the 519 respondents, 360 (69.4%) practiced self-medication in the last six months. There was a statistically significant difference between medical students and non-medical students (p=0.008). Headache was the most common symptom leading to Self-medication, and the most frequently used drug was Paracetamol. Quick-relief was the most common reason, and the primary source of drugs was pharmacies. 80 (15.4%) students reported using herbal preparation of Giloy (Tinospora cordifolia) followed by vitamin C 18 (3.5%) to increase their immunity for the prevention of COVID-19 infection.
Conclusion: Self-medication practice is common among medical and non-medical undergraduate students of Siddharthanagar, with a significant difference between students in the prevalence, pattern, and attitude. Since self-medication is a sensitive issue, health awareness programs must be initiated at national levels to educate students about its merits and demerits.
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