Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Lupine Publishers-Open access journal of Nursing

Self-medication practices involve the consumption of drugs to treat self-diagnosed symptoms or disorders and also include the use of prescribed drugs intermittently or continually for chronic or recurrent ailments or its manifestations. Self-medication is widely practiced as a first-line option in most types of illness and has led to the widespread concern over the irrationality of drug use. The prevalence of such practices is alarmingly high in developing countries where achievement of universal healthcare is far from achieved. The scenario in India, which is stratified by the World Bank into lower-middle income country, is not much different from other developing nation counterparts. Many studies have concluded that people who tend to self-medicate detain care seeking and this in turn can result in paradoxical increase in healthcare cost as a result of the delay in proper diagnosis and therapy. There also arises the problem of drug-interactions and anti-biotic resistance due to lack of guidance from a qualified practitioner who could have mitigated and prevented such instances with his clinical expertise. In the light of these incidences, WHO has emphasized the need to regulate such practices and need to educate the public on the aspects of self-medication? 

Even though educated and responsible self-medication practices can reduce the unnecessary cost burden in patient and payer perspective and result in overall cost-minimization; some conditions are to be realized for this to be effective [1-3]. These conditions comprise of: the drugs used are indicated for those ailments which are self-recognizable and consumer is educated on the proper drug use and its risks as well as benefits [4,5]. In developing countries, professional health care is relatively expensive and many drugs which are available as prescription drugs in developed countries is available as OTCs; thereby leading to strong reliance on such medications to treat prevalent conditions [6,7]. Although as per drug laws relevant to India, self-medication practice is permitted for over-the-counter (OTC) drugs; there is absence of a well-defined list of OTC drugs. Those drugs which do not fall under Schedule H or G are regarded as OTC and can be procured without the prescription of a registered physician and are consumed as self-medication.

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