Rising Trend of Self – Medication Among Undergraduate Medical Students

  • Altaf Pervez Qasim Associate Professor of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology Sahiwal Medical College, Sahiwal
  • Muhammad Mehboob Alam Assistant Professor of Medicine Punjab Medical College Faisalabad
  • Rashid Maqbool Medical Superintendent Allied Hospital, Faisalabad
  • Junaid Altaf Qasim MBBS Student Aziz Fatima Medical College, Faisalabad
  • Nazia Zaib WMO BHU BURJ, Faisalabad
  • Noor ul Ain WMO Social Security Faisalabad
Keywords: Self-medication, Medical Students, Antibiotics, Prevalence, Questionnaire


Background: Medications are an essential asset to health and important therapeutic tool in the hands of physicians and other health professionals. The utilization of medication by individuals in an attempt to treat self-recognized symptoms themselves is termed as self-medication. Medical students usually choose to treat their friends, relatives and family members without consultation of registered medical practitioner and when they seek health care for themselves. Although antibiotics are very useful for the purpose of eradicating pathogens but unfortunately inappropriate use of these drugs may lead to develop resistance against antibiotics and self-medication with antibiotics (SMA), may lead to severe implications among healthcare professionals including legal & ethical issues, negative impacts on patients and poor quality of health care delivery towards ailing humanity. Objectives: To estimate the prevalence of self-medication with special reference to the use of antibiotics among the undergraduate students of Punjab Medical College, Faisalabad and to know the characteristics i.e. the clinical conditions treated & type of antibiotics used for the purpose of self treating the self-diagnosed problems. Setting & Period of study: Study was conducted in Punjab Medical College, Faisalabad during academic session 2015-16 from 1st Feb, 2016 to 31st May, 2016. Methodology: The present study was conducted on self-medication among randomly selected 210 students of 3rd year & 4th year M.B.B.S classes of Punjab Medical College, Faisalabad, Pakistan. A pre-designed questionnaire was used to collect the relevant information pertaining to the study variables. Results: Response rate was 90.47% (n=190). Of those, (73.68%) were females & (26.32%) males. All participants were in the age range between 20-25 years. One hundred & forty seven (77.36%) participants were boarders and 43 (22.64%) non boarders. The most common symptom for self-medication was cough with sputum in 62 (32.63%). Among the participants 65.5% had self-medicated in the last six months. Most commonly used antibiotics were Metronidazole (29.23 %), Azithromycin (24.61%), Ciprofloxacin (18.46%), Augmentin (15.40%) and Norfloxacin (9.23%). Regarding the source of antibiotics used for self treatment, 38.46% participants used the leftover medicines at home, 35.38% purchased from pharmacies / medical stores. The samples provided by representatives of pharmaceutical companies were the source of medicines for 16.93% participants whereas; 9.23% students obtained the drugs from Hospital Pharmacies for the purpose of self-medication. Conclusion: This study has shown that self-medication is common among undergraduate students of Punjab Medical College, Faisalabad and injudicious use of antibiotics is also on rise among younger medical students. Suggestions: There is need for a review of educational programs especially the teaching of clinical pharmacology to include topics on self medication and judicious use of medicines. A rigorous mass enlightenment campaign should be started to educate the population, including the health care professionals about the disadvantages and possible complications arising due to injudicious use of antibiotic in self-medication. At the policy-making level, there is an urgent need to legislate and implement laws restricting access to the drugs including antibiotics.

How to Cite
Qasim, A., Alam, M., Maqbool, R., Qasim, J., Zaib, N., & Ain, N. (2017). Rising Trend of Self – Medication Among Undergraduate Medical Students. Annals of Punjab Medical College (APMC), 11(1), 68-75. https://doi.org/10.29054/apmc/2017.250