Many people have been using antibiotics without doctor’s prescription since time in memorial. This is because of the healthcare challenges that we face worldwide. According to Hussain and Tiwari (2015) people mostly assume that because they see the same symptoms and have had earlier prescriptions from the doctor, that they can go and buy over the counter (OTC) equivalents and treat themselves. This practice has however, been more prevalent among medicine students in the universities around the world. This is attributed to their relation in medicine field. Students studying medicine who self-medicate argue that they already have knowledge on the disease they are dealing with hence they can effectively team themselves or those around them. Based on Gunawardhana, Sakeena and Sivayoganthan’s (2015) argument, in order to enhance the knowledge and behavior of such students to prevent them from self-medicating, there is need for educating them, raising awareness and improving the health care system, as is evident from many researchers conducted across the globe.
Educating self-medicating students is one of the holistic approaches employed so as to improve their knowledge on why they should not self-medicate (Bennadi, 2013). Bennadi in his research acknowledges that self-medication is increasingly becoming a challenge and emphasizes on the need for education these students. Despite processing the knowledge to prescribe antibiotics for common diseases, Corrêa da Silva, Soares and Muccillo-Baisch (2012) holds that they lack the experience and fines to deal with the evolving nature of such diseases. Not all the time diseases attack the same way. In addition, many diseases share the same symptoms and misdiagnosis are very common because one might think they are treating a certain disease while whatever ails them or the patient in question might be totally different. (Gunawardhana, Sakeena and Sivayoganthan (2015) suggests that Educating medicine students on such risks of self-medicating and providing examples of severer situations will allow them to understand why it is not a good idea to self-medicate. They should also be educated on the importance of seeking professional help from those who have experience such as well-established doctors in healthcare institutions (Mohamed, 2016).
Creating awareness is another crucial approach that can be employed in order to enhance student’s knowledge on risks of self-medicating (Lukovic et al., 2016). Many medicine students find it natural to self-medicate because they believe they have the knowledge. Many are not aware of the adverse effects that may arise from such activities. For this reason, it is crucial to create awareness through programs that will open the eyes of such students. Also, third party receptors of such care should also be made aware of the risks they face and why it is important to go to an established health institution for their healthcare needs. Kumar et al., (2013) mentions that through impacting such information on relevant parties, it is possible to reduce and eradicate the use of self-medicated antibiotics by students. It will make them become aware of the fact that studying medicine does not replace certified doctors in the healthcare needs.
Finally, improving healthcare system, regarding delivery, should be given priority in order to reduce self-medication. The availability of OTC antibiotics should also be restricted as another measure of reducing self-medication. Many students find it too much of a ‘hustle’ to go through the hospital procedure, for something they feel they can handle (Shehnaz SI, 2014). Simplifying the treatment process will encourage such people to go to the hospital. If such students lack access to OTC prescriptions, they will have no choice other than report to the hospital for proper treatment. Zafar SN (2008) accepts that self-medication has become a major concern in the recent times. However, Ullah H, (2013) holds that such consumer approaches can be employed to reduce and if possible eradicate this practice.
- Bennadi, D. (2013). Self-medication: A current challenge. [online] NCBI. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4012703/ [Accessed 14 Nov. 2016].
- Corrêa da Silva, M., Soares, M. and Muccillo-Baisch, A. (2012). Self-medication in university students from the city of Rio Grande, Brazil. [online] BMC Public Health. Available at: http://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-12-339 [Accessed 14 Nov. 2016].
- Gunawardhana, C., Sakeena, M. and Sivayoganthan, C. (2015). Awareness of Rational Medication Use and Antibiotic Self- Medication Practices among Undergraduate Students in a University in Sri Lanka. Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, 14(4), p.723.
- Hussain, S. and Tiwari, P. (2015). Knowledge, Attitude And Practices Towards Medication Use Among Post-Graduate Pharmacy Students. Value in Health, 18(7), p.A836.
- Kumar, N., Kanchan, T., Unnikrishnan, B., Rekha, T., Mithra, P., Kulkarni, V., Papanna, M., Holla, R. and Uppal, S. (2013). Perceptions and Practices of Self-Medication among Medical Students in Coastal South India. [online] NCBI. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3756058/ [Accessed 14 Nov. 2016].
- Lukovic, J., Miletic, V., Pekmezovic, T., Trajkovic, G., Ratkovic, N., Aleksic, D. and Grgurevic, A. (2016). Self-Medication Practices and Risk Factors for Self-Medication among Medical Students in Belgrade, Serbia. [online] PLOS. Available at: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0114644 [Accessed 14 Nov. 2016].
- Mohamed, N. (2016). Sudan Journal of Rational Use of Medicine. [online] SJRUM. Available at: http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/documents/s22205en/s22205en.pdf [Accessed 14 Nov. 2016].
- Shehnaz SI, e. (2014). A systematic review of self-medication practices among adolescents. – PubMed – NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25245937 [Accessed 14 Nov. 2016].
- Ullah H, e. (2013). Evaluation of self-medication amongst university students in Abbottabad, Pakistan; prevalence, attitude and causes. – PubMed – NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24147372 [Accessed 14 Nov. 2016].
- Zafar SN, e. (2008). Self-medication amongst university students of Karachi: prevalence, knowledge and attitudes. – PubMed – NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18655436 [Accessed 14 Nov. 2016].