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Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia

Print version ISSN 1415-790XOn-line version ISSN 1980-5497


SECOLI, Silvia Regina et al. Self-medication practice trend among the Brazilian elderly between 2006 and 2010: SABE Study. Rev. bras. epidemiol. [online]. 2018, vol.21, suppl.2, e180007.  Epub Feb 04, 2019. ISSN 1415-790X.


Self-medication involves the concept of the spontaneous search by the individual for some drug that he or she considers appropriate to solve a health problem. Self-medication practice is little explored by the elderly according to other studies based in population data.


To examine the trends in self-medication practice among the Brazilian elderly between 2006 and 2010.


This is a population-based study whose data were obtained from the Health, Well-being and Ageing Study (SABE Study). Thesample consisted of 1,257 elderly people in 2006 and 865 in 2010, who used drugs.


The findings showed self-medication reduction from 42.3% in 2006 to 18.2% in 2010. In both periods, predominant utilized therapeutic classes were those acting on the nervous system (27.9% in 2006, and 29.6% in 2010) and on the alimentary tract and metabolism (25.5% in 2006, and 35.9% in 2010). The most commonly used medicines in 2006 and 2010 were analgesics, anti-inflammatories, and vitamins. There was a tendency to decrease the use of potentially inappropriate medicines between 2006 (26.4%) and 2010 (18.1%). The elderly themselves were the main responsible for the decision about the drug use in 2006 (62.5%) and 2010 (66.5%).


Theextent of self-medication practice among the elderly who participated in the study decreased between 2006 and 2010, but the use of medicines that offer risks to health was still reported. Thus, the findings reinforce the importance of monitoring, evaluating, and continuously educating the elderly about risks and benefits of drug consumption, particularly over-the-counter medicines.

Keywords : Self-medication; Aged; Drug utilization.Inappropriate Prescribing; Pharmacoepidemiology; Cohort studies.

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