Self- medication in paediatric age group: The current scenario

Sristi Ganguly, Jyoti Ranjan Champatiray, Bijaylaxmi Mallick, Narendranath Soren, Kiran Chandra Pankaj


Background: Self-medication, the practice of administering drugs without doctor’s consultation, is a double-edged sword. However, drug errors, side-effects, misuse and misdiagnosis are the challenges, especially in vulnerable population such as children. This study aims to assess the trends and factors
associated with self-medication in children.
Materials and Methods: This was a hospital based cross-sectional study done in pediatric outdoor of SCBMCH and SVPPGIP, Cuttack, enrolling children aged above 1 month to 14years, during December 2019- May 2020. A questionnaire assessing socio-demographic variables and details of drugs selfmedicated,
was administered. Those parents who were unable to recollect details of drugs nor evidence of same, were excluded. Data obtained was analysed using SPSS 18.0.
Results: Among the 300 cases, prevalence of self-medication was 61%, the commonest reason being similar illness previously, mostly on the advice of the pharmacist. Fever followed by cough and cold were the usual conditions and antipyretics, the most common drugs self-administered. OTC drugs constituted
46.5% of the total drugs and 75% had errors in dose/duration. 43.3% of parents considered self-medication safe and 54.6% believed patients recovered with the same. A significant association was seen between self-medication and the child’s age (p-value=0.013), Socioeconomic status (p-value= O.OOO4), mother’s education (p =0.003) and family income (p =0.0001), distance from nearest health centre (p =0.004), chronic illness in child (p-value=0.0001) and health professional in the family (p-value= 0.004).
Conclusion: Self-medication is fairly common practice among children in Odisha, reasons being multifactorial. Thus, there is need for further studies regarding same, along with mass education and legal against illegal dispensing of the drugs, to combat this practice.

Keywords: Self-medication, Children, Drug errors.

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