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Med Princ Pract. 2006;15(4):270-5.

Evaluation of the knowledge, attitude and practice of self-medication among first-year medical students.

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Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Arabian Gulf University, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain.



This study was undertaken to determine the knowledge, attitude and practice of self-medication among first-year medical students of the Arabian Gulf University, Bahrain.


This was an anonymous, questionnaire-based, descriptive study. A prevalidated questionnaire, containing open-ended and close-ended questions, was administered to the subjects. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 12 and the results expressed as counts and percentages.


Out of the 134 respondents, 43 (32.1%) were males and 91 (67.9%) were females; their mean age in years +/- SD was 18.01 +/- 0.78. The respondents' knowledge about appropriate self-medication was poor, but knowledge of the benefits and risks of self-medication was adequate. The respondents found self-medication to be time-saving, economical, convenient and providing quick relief in common illnesses. Important disadvantages of self-medication mentioned were the risk of making a wrong diagnosis, inappropriate drug use and adverse effects. The majority (76.9%) of the respondents had a positive attitude favoring self-medication. Self-medication was practiced by 44.8% of the subjects. The most common indications for self-medication were to relieve the symptoms of headache (70.9%), cough, cold and sore throat (53.7%), stomachache (32.8%) and fever (29.9%). Analgesics (81.3%) were the most common drugs used for self-medication. The practice of self-medication was appropriate in only 14.2% of cases.


Knowledge about appropriate self-medication was poor, attitude towards self-medication was positive, and the practice of self-medication was common and often inappropriate.

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