Self-Medication Patterns in Amman, Jordan
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The classification of medicine as Prescription-Only-Medicine (POM) and Over-The-Counter (OTC) drugs in Jordan is present but not yet enforced on community pharmacies, the fact that allows access of the public to a wider range of medications that otherwise are provided only on prescription. This, of course, has its implications on safety and effectiveness of the pharmacotherapy in question. This research aims to establish a baseline data concerning the extent of self-medication among Jordanians, and to assess possible factors associated with self-medication, so that future interventions can be documented and planned.
A total of 155 out of Amman's 900 community pharmacies.
A cross-sectional observational study using a pre-piloted questionnaire was conducted. Over 800 customers who visited the pharmacies over a period of 4 months were interviewed and their non-prescription drug requests patterns were recorded to assess the prevalence of self-medication and offered justification.
Self-medication was a common practice among Jordanians (42.5%). The variable that was associated with extent of self-medication was respondents' age, where patients younger than 16 years and those older than 60 years were less likely to self-treat. The most common reasons for self-medication were that the ailments were too minor to see a doctor (46.4%), the long waiting time to be seen by doctors (37.7%) and avoiding the cost of doctors' visits (31.4%). People tended to select medication based on advice received from pharmacy staff (14.2%), friends/neighbors (17.6%) or informal advice from other health professionals like dentists and nurses (21.9%). Alternatively, patients selected products based on their previous experiences with similar symptoms (27%) or similar diseases (33.5%).
Self-medication is a common health care practice in Jordan, where people are becoming increasingly familiar with drugs and their brand names. Self-medication behavior varied significantly with a number of socio-economic factors. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of patients engaged pharmacy personnel in therapeutic consultations beyond briefly mentioning a symptom.
KeywordsJordan Misuse Nonprescription drugs OTC Pharmacists' role Pharmacy staff POM Self-medication
Authors wish to thank all pharmacists who participated in this project and their clients for agreeing to be interviewed.
Authors would like to acknowledge the Deanship of Academic Research at the University of Jordan for the unconditional funding of this research.
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