Use of over-the-counter medications in community

Document Type



Family Medicine; Community Health Sciences


Objective: To study the use of Over-the-Counter (OTC) medications, among patients visiting the family physicians, at a teaching hospital in Karachi. Design: A cross-sectional survey. Place and Duration of Study: Family Practice Center, the Aga Khan University, Karachi, from August to October 2001.
Methods: A total of 393 patients were surveyed against a sample size estimated at 347. A questionnaire was developed and administered to collect information on the demographic profile and the use of "Over the-Counter (OTC) medications, among the respondents.
Results: The demographic profile showed that the respondents were young, well-educated and better placed socioeconomically. OTC use within the previous 6 months was found in 153 (39%) respondents. Analgesics were the most commonly used OTC drugs among the respondents. Cousins/neighbours were most commonly found advisers in the use of OTC medications. Awareness regarding misuse/abuse of OTC medications was found in 167 (42.49%) of the respondents. Reasons for abuse were economic (by avoiding consultation with doctors), addiction, and easy availability. Two hundred and fifty (63.61%) of the respondents desired to see a doctor before taking any medicines in future.
Conclusion: We have found substantial use of over-the-counter medications in our study. We recommend a strong patient education program and government legislative control over the sale of medications in the country


Medical Forum Monthly

This document is currently not available here.