OBJECTIVE: To assess the prevalence of self-medication among adults in an urban setting and to identify any factors contributing to self-medication in relation to consumer characteristics.
SETTING: The study was carried out in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia.
METHODS: A cross-sectional study using a self administered questionnaire including adults above 21 years old as an exit survey was conducted in Kuala Lumpur.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Number of medications taken in a day by participants, source of medication for the treatment of minor illnesses among participants, common illnesses chosen for self-medication by participants, and the sources of information of participants.
RESULTS: Of 314 participants, 62.7% had taken at least one medication in the past week without prescription and 62.7% believed that over the counter medicines were just as effective as those prescribed by doctors. 69.4% would seek a healthcare professional's advice before purchasing any medication and 86.9% would consult a pharmacist prior to buying medication from the pharmacy. Only 86% checked the expiry dates on medications and 54.5% reported keeping leftover medication.
CONCLUSIONS: Self-medication practice is prevalent in Kuala Lumpur but some practice might be harmful. Education on appropriate use of self-medication need to be emphasized in order to ensure quality use of medicines.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.