Purpose: To assess self-medication practice-related awareness for correct usage and its association with demographic
factors among patients reporting to a dental college.
Materials and Methods: This descriptive cross-sectional questionnaire-based study was conducted among 300 patients
reporting to the People’s College of Dental Sciences and Research Centre, Bhopal, India. Only patients ≥ 18
years of age were included and consenting participants anonymously completed the questionnaire, with incomplete
questionnaires being excluded from the study. The semi-structured questionnaire containing both open- and closed-ended questions was prepared in the local language and included demographic data, name of self-medication, frequency of self-medication, periods of illness, duration, dose, frequency of drug administration, symptoms for which
drugs were used, satisfaction with healthcare facilities, source of information for self-medication, presence of chronic
illness, adverse effects to self-medication seen in patients and drug interactions. The unpaired t-test and chi-square
test were used for statistical analysis. p-values < 0.05 were considered statistically significant.
Results: A significant association was seen between education and self-medication. It was observed that the subjects
who fell ill more frequently consumed medications on their own more often. Medications were most commonly taken
for cough, cold and fever. The most preferred medicine was paracetamol. Most of the subjects found the medicines
effective in helping them relieve their symptoms. However, not even half of the subjects were aware of the dose, duration, side-effects or interactions of medicines. There was a significant association between knowledge about side-effects and side-effects experienced from medication. A significant association was also seen between knowledge about
side-effects and frequency of self-medication.
Conclusion: Self-medication and non-doctor prescribing are relatively common in Bhopal. Knowledge regarding the
appropriate usage of medication is inadequate. Education to help patients decide on the appropriateness of selfmedication is required.