Knowledge causes and practice of self-medication during COVID-19: A population-based survey in Pakistan

Aiman Zahra, Nafeesa Safdar, Syed Muhammad Muslim Raza, Tanveer Hussain, Muhammad Usama, Kumail Ijaz, Qamar Ali


Background: Self-medication (SM) is a public health issue upsurge day by day and its side effects accelerate the burden on healthcare, pharmacists, and the economy. The demand for self-prescribed medicines during the COVID-19 pandemic was found to be on the rise globally.

Methods: The survey was conducted during June-August 2021 to analyses knowledge, causes, and practices of self-medication in Pakistan. The Chi-square test was used to examine the relationships between the categorical variable: The Pearson Correlation coefficient determined the relationship between quantitative variables. Age, gender, marital status, education, profession, field, knowledge, causes and practice of SM were variables included in survey.

Result: 203 responses were received in the online survey and results from demographic factors were 104 (51.7%) male, 114(56.7%) single, 20-30 years (42.3%) age group, 44.8% were MS/M. Phil, 31.3% were teacher and 74.1% respondents belongs to the bioscience field. 20.4% considered it good practice while 42.3% responded to it as an acceptable practice. Quarantine was the most significant factor for SM during COVID-19 (68.7%). Discrimination after infection (37.8%) was also of higher priority and SM practiced under the influence of friends and social media, emergency illness, distance to hospitals (19.9%), and prescribed by medical personnel in a health facility (31.3%) followed by own self (22.9%), 19.9% by a friend, and 15.4% by pharmacist. 52.7% used self-prescribed antibiotics with the appearance of symptoms of fever, chills, and tiredness (37.30%).

Conclusion: This population-based survey suggested that legislation, awareness campaigns, media, community, and government should play their part to fight misinformation about alleged COVID-19 preventive medicines on different platforms.

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