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On-line version ISSN 1678-4464Print version ISSN 0102-311X


LOYOLA FILHO, Antônio I. de; LIMA-COSTA, Maria Fernanda  and  UCHOA, Elizabeth. Bambuí Project: a qualitative approach to self-medication. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2004, vol.20, n.6, pp.1661-1669. ISSN 1678-4464.

Representations related to self-medication were investigated, seeking to identify contextual elements that can reinforce or inhibit such practice. An anthropological approach based on the model of signs, meanings, and actions was used. Twenty-nine inhabitants from the town of Bambuí, Minas Gerais State, Brazil, were interviewed (17 women and 12 men), selected among participants in a health survey that had been on medication in the previous 90 days. The research focused on the identification of different types of self-medication practiced by the interviewee or by a relative, and then "ways of thinking and behaving" associated with this practice were investigated. The influence of pharmacists/drugstore sales attendants as well as family and friends, perception of the health problem as transitory and a minor issue, familiarity with and easy access to certain pharmaceuticals, as well as difficulties in access to (and negative assessment of) health care were determinant factors for self-medication.

Keywords : Anthropology; Self Medication; Qualitative Research.

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