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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 624-631

Self-care behaviors and safety concerns toward self-medication among the general public in Ajman, United Arab Emirates: An exploratory survey

1 Departments of Clinical Sciences, Fathima College of Health Sciences, Institute of Applied Technology, Abu Dhabi, UAE
2 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Ajman University, Ajman, UAE
3 Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Ajman University, Ajman, UAE

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Subish Palaian
Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Ajman University, Ajman
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jdmimsu.jdmimsu_404_21

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Background: Self-medication offers advantages but raises multiple safety-related questions. There are different factors that influence the self-medication patterns among different population, such as age, income, gender, self-care-orientation, educational level, expenditure, satisfaction, and known seriousness of the illness. Data on self-care behavior and safety concerns among the general public are lacking in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This study assessed the general public's self-care behaviors and medication safety concerns among the general public. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional, questionnaire-based survey was conducted among the 210 general public in Ajman, UAE, from December 2019 to February 2020. The filled surveys, entered in SPSS 26, were analyzed applying Chi-square tests and Fisher's exact tests with an alpha value = 0.05. Results: Of the respondents, 152 (72.3%) have participated in self-medication with no association seen between education (P = 0.107), gender (P = 0.185), age (P = 0.122). The commonly self-medicated ones were over-the-counter medications (n = 103; 41.37%) and antibiotics (n = 66; 26.51%). Seventy-two percentage (n = 151) stopped the self-medicated drugs if the underlying conditions improved which was not influenced by age (P = 0.327), gender (P = 1.00), or educational qualifications (P = 0.338). Sixty percentage (n = 126) checked the side effects of the self-medicated drugs before taking them, a habit influenced by education (P = 0.015), gender (0.002), and age group (P = 0.014). Half of the respondents (n = 105; 50%) stopped medications if they experience side effects a practice largely influenced by age (P = 0.0.30). Of the respondents 77.6% (n = 163) checked the medicine leaflets for drug information and the ease of obtaining an antibiotic was easy among 19.62% (n = 20) respondents; P = 000 (education), 0.006 (age); 65.7% (n = 138) of respondents check for allergy before self-medicating (P = 0.014, education), 13.3% (n = 28) felt the drugs that do not require a prescription is safe for everyone (P = 0.012, education). Conclusion: Self-medication is rampant and often used for symptomatic management. Antibiotics were also self-medicated by nearly one-fourth of respondents. Education had a significant influence on self-medication practices and safety concerns. Innovative strategies may be needed to contain irresponsible self-medication practices among the general public.

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