Prevalence and Predictors of Self-Medication Practices in India: A Systematic Literature Review and Meta-Analysis

Author(s): Muhammed Rashid, Manik Chhabra*, Ananth Kashyap, Krishna Undela, Sai K. Gudi

Journal Name: Current Clinical Pharmacology
Continued as Current Reviews in Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology

Volume 15 , Issue 2 , 2020

Graphical Abstract:


Background: Self-Medication (SM) is a practice of using medications to treat selfdiagnosed symptoms without a legitimate prescription by a health care professional. Alongside posing a burden on a patient, SM practices are associated with certain unfavourable health conditions such as drug-resistance, adverse effects, drug-interactions, including death.

Objective: To systematically review and quantify the prevalence of SM practices and its associated factors in India.

Methods: A comprehensive systematic search was performed using scientific databases such as PubMed and Cochrane library for the peer-reviewed research articles that were conducted in India without any language and date restrictions. Studies which were cross-sectional by design and assessing the prevalence and predictors of SM practices in India were considered for the review, and all the relevant articles were screened for their eligibility.

Results: Of 248 articles, a total of 17 articles comprising of 10,248 participants were included in the meta-analysis. Overall, the mean prevalence of SM practices in India was observed to be 53.57%. Familiarity with the medication appears to be a major reason to practice SM (PR: 30.45; 95% Confidence Interval [CI]: 17.08-43.82; 6 studies), and the practice was noticed more among individuals from a middle-lower class family with a prevalence rate of 26.31 (95%CI: 2.02-50.60; P<0.0001). Minor ailments were the primary reason for practicing SM (PR: 42.46; 95%CI: 21.87- 63.06), among which headache was the most commonly reported (PR: 41.53; 95%CI: 18.05-65.02).

Conclusion: Self-medication practices are quite frequent in India. While NSAIDs and anti-allergens are the most frequently utilized self-medicated drugs used for headache and cold and cough.

Keywords: Self-medication, over-the-counter medication, heterogeneity, prevalence, predictors, anti-allergens.

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Article Details

Year: 2020
Published on: 21 November, 2019
Page: [90 - 101]
Pages: 12
DOI: 10.2174/1574884714666191122103953

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