Advertisement

Pharmacy World and Science

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 19–25 | Cite as

Prevalence of Self-medication in Rural Areas of Portugal

  • Magda Nunes de Melo
  • Brenda Madureira
  • Ana Patrícia Nunes Ferreira
  • Zilda Mendes
  • Ana da Costa Miranda
  • Ana Paula Martins
Article

Abstract

Objectives: To study the prevalence of self-medication among pharmacy customers in rural areas of Portugal, to assess possible predictors of self-medication and to find out whether there was a seasonal dependence in the purchase of drugs for self-medication. Method: A cross-sectional study during four different periods of a year was conducted. Community pharmacies of rural areas of Portugal were invited to participate and pharmacists were asked to recruit one person every hour during the opening hours and administer a questionnaire. Drugs dispensed were classified according to the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification system up to the second level. Main outcome measure: Prevalence of self-medication is defined as the percentage of patients acquiring a medicine that was not prescribed (written) or recommended (orally) by a physician. Results: The prevalence of self-medication was 21.5%. Main therapeutic groups acquired for self-medication were “other alimentary tract and metabolism products” (A16; proportion acquired for self-medication= 75.0%), “throat preparations” (R02; 74.7%), “antiemetics and antinauseants” (A04; 70.0%), “cough and cold preparations” (R05; 56.5%), and “nasal preparations” (R01; 50.0%). Variables found to be predictors of self-medication were age, type of health professional or person consulted when a mild health problem occurred, time elapsed since last visit to the physician and time waited between setting an appointment and the actual visit. Seasonality seemed to occur for only “cough and cold preparations”, for “dermatologicals” and for “anti-inflammatory and anti-rheumatic products”. Conclusion: In rural Portugal about one fifth of the pharmacy customers engaged in self-medication. However, further research should be made to address appropriateness of self-medication.

Keywords

Predictors Portugal Prevalence Rural Areas Seasonal Influences Self-medication Therapeutic groups 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Blenkinsopp A and Bradley C (1996). Over the Counter Drugs: Patients, society and the increase in self medication. BMJ 312(7031): 629–632PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Stearns SC, Bernard SL, Fasick SB, Schwartz R, Konrad TR and Ory MG (2000). The economic implications of self-care: the effect of lifestyle, functional adaptations, and medical self-care among a national sample of Medicare beneficiaries. Am J Public Health 90(10): 1608–1612PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hughes CM, McElnay JC and Fleming GF (2001). Benefits and risks of self medication. Drug Saf 24(14): 1027–1037CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    (2002). Medicamentos não prescritos: aconselhamento farmacêutico [Nonprescription medicines: pharmacist intervention]. Associação Nacional das Farmácias, Lisboa Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Anatomic Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) classification index with Defined Daily Doses (DDDs). January 2001 ed. Oslo, Norway: 2001Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Martins AP, Miranda AC, Mendes Z, Soares MA, Ferreira P and Nogueira A (2002). Self-medication in a Portuguese urban population: a prevalence study. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf 11(5): 409–414CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Tobi H, Meijer WM, Tuinstra J and de Jong-van den Berg LT (2003). Socio-economic differences in prescription and OTC drug use in Dutch adolescents. Pharm World Sci 25(5): 203–206CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Itterman R, Johnson J and Taylor J (2005). Health Status and Self-medication Patterns in Alberta, Canada. Results from a population health survey. J Social Admin Pharm 20(2): 43–52Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Figueiras A., Francisco Caamaño, Juan Jesús Gestal-Otero. Sociodemographic factors related to self-medication in Spain. Eur J Epidemiol ; 16:19–26 Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Bjerrum L, Sogaard J, Hallas J and Kragstrup J (1998). Polypharmacy: correlations with sex, age and drug regimen. A prescription database study. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 54(3): 197–202CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Linjakumpu T, Hartikainen S, Klaukka T, Veijola J, Kivela SL and Isoaho R (2002). Use of medications and polypharmacy are increasing among the elderly. J Clin Epidemiol 55(8): 809–817CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Fisher RJ (1993). Social desirability bias and the validity of indirect questioning. J Consumer Res 20: 303–315CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    (2002). Odontología y automedicación: un reto actual [Odontology and self-medication: a current challenge]. Medicina Oral 7: 344–377Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Borg MA and Scicluna EA (2002). Over-the-counter acquisition of antibiotics in the Maltese general population. Int J Antimicrob Agents 20(4): 253–257CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Magda Nunes de Melo
    • 1
  • Brenda Madureira
    • 1
  • Ana Patrícia Nunes Ferreira
    • 1
  • Zilda Mendes
    • 1
  • Ana da Costa Miranda
    • 1
  • Ana Paula Martins
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro de Estudos de FarmacoepidemiologiaAssociação Nacional das FarmáciasLisboaPortugal

Personalised recommendations