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Iran J Public Health. 2015 Dec;44(12):1580-93.

Prevalence and Cause of Self-Medication in Iran: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Article.

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Road Traffic Injury Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran.
Health Management and Economics Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran; School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Health Management and Economics Research Center, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
School of Health Management and Information Sciences, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Dept. of Health and Community Medicine, Dezful University of Medical Sciences, Dezful, Iran.
Health Services Management Research Center, Institute for Futures Studies in Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran.



Nowadays self-medication is one of the most common public health issues in many countries, as well as in Iran. According to need to epidemiological information about self-medication, the aim of this study was to systematic review and meta-analysis of prevalence and cause of self-medication in community setting of Iran.


Required data were collected searching following key words: medication, self-medication, over-the-counter, non-prescription, prevalence, epidemiology, etiology, occurrence and Iran in Google Scholar, PubMed, Scopus, Magiran, SID and IranMedex (from 2000 to 2015). To estimate the overall self-medication prevalence, computer software CMA: 2 applied. In order to report the results, forest plot was employed.


Out of 1256 articles, 25 articles entered to study. The overall prevalence of self-medication based on the random effect model was estimated to be 53% (95% CI, lowest= 42%, highest=67%). The prevalence of self-medication in students was 67% (95% CI, lowest=55%, highest=81%), in the household 36% (95% CI, lowest=17%, highest= 77%) and in the elderly people 68% (95% CI, lowest=54%, highest=84%). The most important cause of self-medication was mild symptoms of disease. The most important group of disease in which patients self-medicated was respiratory diseases and the most important group of medication was analgesics.


The results show a relatively higher prevalence of self-medication among the Iranian community setting as compared to other countries. Raising public awareness, culture building and control of physicians and pharmacies' performance can have beneficial effects in reduce of prevalence of self-medication.


Cause; Community setting; Iran; Prevalence; Self-medication


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