Revista de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 0124-0064
LOPEZ, José J.; DENNIS, Rodolfo and MOSCOSO, Sonia M.. A study of self-medication in a neighborhood in Bogotá. Rev. salud pública [online]. 2009, vol.11, n.3, pp. 432-442. ISSN 0124-0064. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0124-00642009000300012.
Objective Establishing the prevalence of people living in the Suba district of Bogotá using medication at their own risk and determining the factors related to it. Methods A guided survey was applied to a random sample. Demographic variables were measured and inquires were made about health problems related to self- medication, the reasons for not seeing a doctor and the medications consumed during the last two weeks. Results Self-medication reached 27,3 % (19,2-35,3 % 95 % CI) and self-prescription was 7,7 % (2,8-12,5 % 95 % CI). Being affiliated to the Social Health Security's beneficiaries system (OR=2,61: 1,4-4,8 95 % CI) was related to such behaviour. No relationship with other variables was found. The medications most consumed by people indulging in self-medication were analgesics (59,3 %), anti-flu medicine (13,5 %) and vitamins (6,8 %). The main problems for which people resorted to self-medication were pain, fever and flu. The main reasons mentioned for not seeing a doctor were lack of time (40 %) and lack of economic resources (43 %), in addition to other arguments, such as the people´s perception that the problem was mild and emergency rooms are always congested. Conclusions Although still worrying from the public health point of view, self-medication figures were lower than those encountered in similar studies; self-medicated drugs were the over-the-counter medication type. The rate of consuming self-medicated antibiotics dropped, probably due to the spreading of the restriction on the sale of antibiotics without a medical prescription which came into force a few months before the survey took place.
Keywords : Self-medication; pharmacoepidemiology; drug use.