Revista de Saúde Pública
Print version ISSN 0034-8910
LOYOLA FILHO, Antônio Ignácio de et al. Prevalence and factors associated with self-medication: the Bambuí health survey. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2002, vol.36, n.1, pp. 55-62. ISSN 0034-8910. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89102002000100009.
OBJECTIVE: A population-based study was carried out in the municipality of Bambuí, Brazil (population: approx. 15,000 inhabitants), to determine the prevalence of self-medication and its associated factors. METHODS: A random sample of 1,221 residents aged >18 years was selected. Of these, 796 reported use of medications in the last 90 days and were selected for this study (775 participated). Data was collected through home interviews. Study variables were divided in 3 groups: social and economic, health status and health service use indicators. Statistical analysis was performed using Pearson's Qui-square test, and odds ratios adjusted by multinomial logistic regression. RESULTS: Of the total, 419 (54.0%) reported use of only prescribed medications, 133 (17.2%) took prescribed and over-the-counter medications, and 223 (28.8%) took only over-the-counter medications in the last 90 days. After adjusting for confounders, the following variables presented significant associations with exclusive use of self-medication: female sex (OR=0.6; IC95%=0.4¾0.9); age (OR=0.4; IC95%=0.3¾0.6 for 40-59 years old and OR=0.2; IC95%=0.1¾0.5 for >60 years); >5 residents in the household (OR=2.1; 1.1¾4.0); number of visits to a doctor in the previous 12 months (OR=0.2; IC95%=0.1¾0.4 and OR=0.1; IC95%=0.0-0.1 for 1 visit and >2 visits, respectively); report of consulting a pharmacist in the previous 12 months (OR=1.9; IC95%=1.1¾3.3); and reports of financial expenses with medications during this period (OR=0.5; IC95%=0.3¾0.8). CONCLUSIONS: The study results show that the prevalence of self-medication in the studied community was similar to that observed in developed countries. These results also suggest that self-medication works in place of the formal health attention in this community.
Keywords : Self-medication. Prevalence; Drug use habits; Drugs, non-prescription; Prescriptions, drug.