Is our Community Ready for Self-medication to Go Mainstream: A Cross-Sectional Study on Medication Use among Households in a Village in Kanyakumari District of South India?

Sudhir Ben Nelson BT, Vishnu G Ashok, Logesh K, Jeniz Saltin S


Introduction: Self-care is increasingly being realized as the need of the hour across the globe. One of the essential components of self-care is Self-medication. The factors that favor the adoption of self-care and self-medication are present in India too. However, the big question is “are Indians ready for such a change”? Hence, a study on the profile of medication use was done among households in a village in Kanyakumari district.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted during January and February 2016. A total sample of 100 households was selected by simple random sampling. A pretested structured questionnaire was used to collect data. The quantitative variables were expressed in frequencies and percentages and associations tested using Chi- square or Fisher’s exact test.

Results: Among the 100 households studied, 28 had drugs that were not being used currently. Paracetamol was the single most commonly stocked medicine (60.7%). 49% of the households have practiced selfmedication, i.e. used over the counter (OTC) medication in the past one year. The majority of the instances of self-medication were for simple ailments such as fever, cough, etc. Only 59% of households have the practice of always checking the expiry date of drugs before they consume them. Only 28% have the habit of always checking the names and doses when they buy drugs at the pharmacy. 36% of households usually keep the drugs in paper covers given at the pharmacy.

Conclusion: Self-medication to a certain extent is already being practiced by the general population. However, after examining the practice of medication use and storage, we conclude that the general public in our study area is not ready to employ self-medication to the fullest extent of its intended use.


Drugs, OTC, Self-medication, Storage, Use

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