Prevalence of Self-medication and the Effect of COVID-19 Pandemic, Personal Experience
Al-Mustaqbal University College, Pharmacy Department, 51001 Hilla, Babil, Iraq.
Although a global challenge, self-medication is a growing problem in our country. Raising public awareness of the problem is urgently needed. Prophylactic measures of the COVID-19 pandemic have further increased the prevalence.
This prospective study was conducted at my private ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) clinic in Almahawil District, Babylon, Iraq. I am making a comparison of the prevalence of self-medication in my patients between a period of 6 months before (from January 1st to June 30th, 2019) and a 6-month period following (from January 1st to June 30th, 2022) the COVID-19 pandemic to assess the prevalence of the practice of self-medication and the likely impact of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions on its progressive rising. This study included 5400 patients with ENT disorders, 2520 patients in the first phase, and 2880 patients in the second phase.
Age ranged from 3 months to 84 years. The male: female ratio is 1.2:1 in the first period and 1.3:1 in the second period. The spectrum of diseases is so broad that it covers almost the entire field of ENT medicine. The drugs that are used as self-medication are also diverse. In the first period, 1360 (54%) of the patients self-medicated prior to their clinic visit, while in the second period, 2160 (75%) of them self-medicated prior to their Clinic visits.
Self-medication is far from safe practice, is a growing challenge to our healthcare system, and poses a major public health concern; COVID-19 Pandemic probably initiated changes in behavior leading to excessive self-medication.