Document Type



Community Health Sciences


OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence, attitude and knowledge of self-medication amongst university students of Karachi, Pakistan.

METHODS: This cross-sectional, study was conducted from Jan-Feb 2007. A convenience sample was taken from 2 medical and 2 non-medical universities of the city of Karachi, Pakistan. Data was analyzed using SPSS v 14 and associations were tested using the Chi square test.

RESULTS: Of the 572 participants (mean age=21 +/- 1.8 years, Male: Female ratio=1:1.5), 295 were medical and 277 were non-medical students. The prevalence of self-medication was 76%. Forty three percent students stated that they alter the regimen of prescribed medicines while 61.9% stated that they stop taking a prescribed medicine without consulting a doctor. The most common reason for self-medication was previous experience (50.1%) and the most common symptoms were headache (72.4%), flu (65.5%), and fever (55.2%). Commonly used medicines were analgesics (88.3%), antipyretics (65.1%) and antibiotics (35.2%). Eighty seven percent of students thought self-medication could be harmful and 82.5% students thought that it was necessary to consult a doctor before taking a new medicine. There was no significant difference between the self medication practices of medical and non medical students (p=0.8)

CONCLUSION: Prevalence of self-medication is high in the educated youth, despite majority being aware of its harmful effects. There is a need to educate the youth to ensure safe practices. Strict policies need to be implemented on the advertising and selling of medications to prevent this problem from escalating.

Publication ( Name of Journal)

Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association