Patterns and Practices of Self-Medication Among Students Enrolled at Mbarara University of Science and Technology in Uganda
Received 9 November 2019
Accepted for publication 31 January 2020
Published 13 February 2020 Volume 2020:9 Pages 41—48
Checked for plagiarism Yes
Review by Single anonymous peer review
Peer reviewer comments 2
Editor who approved publication: Professor Jonathan Ling
Faith Niwandinda, Edward John Lukyamuzi, Calvin Ainebyona, Veronica Nambi Ssebunya, Godwin Murungi, Esther C Atukunda
Department of Pharmacy, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Mbarara, Uganda
Correspondence: Edward John Lukyamuzi
Department of Pharmacy, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, P.O. Box 1410, Mbarara, Uganda
Tel +256 774-555726
Fax +256 48520782
Purpose: Self-medication is drug use without advice from a medical professional. Proper self-medication can reduce health expenses and physician waiting time. However, prescription or over-the-counter drugs are considered unsafe when used irrationally. Presumably, university students can make informed decisions regarding their lives. However, there are limited studies documenting self-medication in Ugandan universities. This study sought to document the prevalence, patterns and factors associated with self-medication among students enrolled at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST).
Patients and Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was done on 385 medical and non-medical students. Data were collected by interviewer-led semi-structured questionnaires and analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20. The statistical significance was considered as p < 0.05 for both univariate and multivariate analyses.
Results: This study showed a 63.5% prevalence of self-medication. Self-medication reasons were classifying illnesses as minor (33%), time-saving (15%), having old prescriptions (11%) and high consultation fees (9%). Not self-medicating reasons included risk of using wrong drugs (19%), insufficient knowledge (17%), fear of side effects (15%), wrong drug use (15%) and misdiagnosis (14%). Respondents accessed drugs from pharmacies (56%), friends/family (17%) or private clinics (15%). Headache relievers, pain relievers and antibiotics were most commonly self-medicated. In adjusted analysis, being female, existing allergies, and being in advanced years of study were associated with increased odds of self-medication. No statistically significant difference existed between medical and non-medical students regarding self-medication. Self-medication likelihood increased with a lack of access to medical services.
Conclusion: There is a high rate of self-medication amongst female students, those in advanced years of study and those with existing allergies. Medical services access significantly reduced the chances of self-medication. Vital medical services need to be extended to the university students to receive information on medicines, diagnosis, prescription and treatment. More studies should evaluate the impact of a high rate of self-medication among these students.
Keywords: over-the-counter drugs, irrationally, prescription, drugs
This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.Download Article [PDF] View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]