BACKGROUND: The implications of self-medication practices are increasingly recognized around the world; however, little has been reported on the extent of self-medication practiced in Palestine.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the reasons, extent, and correlates of self-medication practices among university students in Palestine.
METHODS: A self-administered questionnaire eliciting self-medication practices was distributed to university students in a cross-sectional design. The 4 variables, sex, type of school, self-care orientation, and medication knowledge, were investigated for possible correlation with self-medication practices. Multiple logistic regression and Chi-square statistics were used in data analysis.
RESULTS: Self-medication practices were reported by 98% of the surveyed students (n=1581). Approximately two thirds of the respondents reported a high self-care orientation and one third reported \"good\" medication knowledge. Multiple logistic regressions indicted that self-care orientation, medication knowledge, and sex were insignificant predictors of self-medication practices, whereas the type of school (P=.012) was a significant predictor. A significant relation between the 4 variables and the type of therapeutic class used in self-medication was observed. For example, males were more inclined to use antiallergic medications (OR=1.48) than females. Medical students were more likely to use laxatives/antidiarrheal agents (OR=1.49) than nonmedical students. Respondents with high a self-care orientation were more inclined to use headache relievers (OR=2.22) compared to those with low self-care orientation. The most commonly reported reason for self-medication practices was simplicity of the illness encountered.
CONCLUSION: Self-medication practices were common among the university students studied. Sex, type of school, self-care orientation, and medication knowledge are important personal factors that are associated with the selection of certain types of therapeutic classes used in self-medication.