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Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia

Print version ISSN 1415-790X

Abstract

SA, Mirivaldo Barros e; BARROS, José Augusto Cabral de  and  SA, Michel Pompeu Barros de Oliveira. Self-medication in the elderly of the city of Salgueiro, State of Pernambuco. Rev. bras. epidemiol. [online]. 2007, vol.10, n.1, pp. 75-85. ISSN 1415-790X.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-790X2007000100009.

OBJECTIVES: to identify the determinants associated with the practice of self-medication in the 60-year-old or older population in the city of Salgueiro/Pernambuco/Brazil. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was carried out in the urban zone in the city of Salgueiro - PE; questionnaires were handed out between May/01/2004 and June/06/2004 in a sample population of 355 persons aged 60 years or more. Data were processed and analyzed using EPIINFO 6.04 software after a double entry and validated. RESULTS: The sample was comprised of 44.9% (159/355) 60-70-year olds, 69.8% (247/355) of which were female, 53.1% (188/355) illiterate, 40.7% (145/355) without having finished high school, and 77.7% (276/355) retired. In the group that used medicines without medical prescription, the drugs used most often were analgesics (30%) and antipyretics (29%). Of the reasons presented to justify the use of self-prescribed medicines, pain was the most frequent one (38.3%), followed by fever (24.4%), diarrhea (8.0%), hypertension (8.0%) and cough (5.2%). There was association between the lack of exercise and self-medication (x2 =14.44 p=0.001). CONCLUSIONS: there is a high prevalence of self-medication in this group; analgesics and antipyretics are the drugs used most often; pain is the symptom that most leads to self-medication; and sedentary individuals use more self-medication than those who exercise.

Keywords : Self-medication; Elderly; Medicine consumption.

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