A Survey on Over The Counter Drug usage in the Community
Background: The incidence of usage of over the counter (OTC) drugs is drastically increasing day by day. Over the counter drugs are medicines sold directly to consumer without a prescription from health care personnel. In many countries, OTC drugs are selected by a regulatory agency to ensure that they are safe and effective when used without physicians care.
Objective: The study was designed to carry out a survey on over the counter (OTC) drug usage in the community.
Methodology: A prospective and community based study was carried out over 6 months of period. A validated questionnaire was used for the collection of data, given to a total of 774 persons and face to face interviews among the 774, aged 14-84yrs.
Results: A total of 750 participants were enrolled in the study. A significant proportion of the participants identified as practicing self-medication in our study were found to be 77.33%. Majority of participants used OTC drugs for fever (31.551%), headache (30%) and Sore throat /cough/common cold (17.931%). The most commonly used drug as self-medication was Paracetamol (66.103%), Cetirizine (6.55%), and Meftal spas (4.65%). Anti-pyretics/pain relievers (37.41%) were the most commonly used class of drug. The most common reason for self-medication was easy accessibility (21.55%). The most relevant source of information was friends/relatives (27.41%). 52.93% of participants altered dose/frequency of the medication according to their health condition. Out of 580 participants, 108 (18.62%) experienced side effects from OTC drugs in which 21 reported side effects.
Conclusion: We concluded that majority of participants practiced self-medication. The most commonly used drug was Paracetamol and the most common indication for self-medication was fever. Awareness and dangers of misuse of OTC medications among all participants was less. Therefore it is suggested that proper education should be imparted regarding illness where self-administration of OTC drugs to be employed.
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