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Background: Self-medication is defined as obtaining and consuming drug(s) without the advice of healthcare professionals either for diagnosis, prescription or surveillance of the treatment. The practice of self-medication is becoming more common worldwide and currently plays a major role in self-care.
Objectives: The objectives of our study were: (I) To determine the perception and level of awareness regarding OTC medications, among the general public in Malaysia and (II) to determine the effect of factors such as socio-demographics, personal health and family history of illness, on the practice, attitudes and awareness regarding OTC drugs, among the Malaysian population.
Methods: In this cross-sectional study, a validated self-administered, questionnaire was used to collect data among University students, working adults and those visiting pharmacies in Malaysia.
Results: Of the 364 respondents, 116 (31.6%) were male and 248 (67.6%) were female. Half the population was students while the other half was employed. Overall, 308 (83.9%) participants consumed OTC medications. The commonly consumed OTC drugs were supplements and vitamins followed by painkillers, flu/ cough remedies and sore throat products. The OTC medications were most frequently bought from pharmacies. Easy access, convenience and time saving were the most frequent reasons for self-medication. Eighty two percent of the respondents stated that their level of knowledge regarding OTC medications was moderate to low. Of the study participants, 58 were on regular prescription medications and half of them were unsure or disagreed that OTC drugs could interfere with the regular prescription drugs. C
onclusion: Lack of awareness regarding drug interaction is an issue that warrants further intervention by increasing the knowledge of the public, so as to prevent adverse events from the drugs.
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Author(s): Mohamed Irfadh Mohamed Azhar Kabisha Gunasekaran Amudha Kadirvelu SunilGurtu Sivalal Sadasivan Bharti Madanlal Kshatriya