Use of over-the-counter medications in community

Waris Qidwai, Syed Iqbal Azam, Faisal M. Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To study the use of Over-the-Counter (OTC) medications, among patients visiting the family physicians, at a teaching hospital in Karachi. Design: A cross-sectional survey. Place and Duration of Study: Family Practice Center, the Aga Khan University, Karachi, from August to October 2001. Subjects and Methods: A total of 393 patients were surveyed against a sample size estimated at 347. A questionnaire was developed and administered to collect information on the demographic profile and the use of "Over the-Counter (OTC) medications, among the respondents. Results: The demographic profile showed that the respondents were young, well-educated and better placed socioeconomically. OTC use within the previous 6 months was found in 153 (39%) respondents. Analgesics were the most commonly used OTC drugs among the respondents. Cousins/neighbours were most commonly found advisers in the use of OTC medications. Awareness regarding misuse/abuse of OTC medications was found in 167 (42.49%) of the respondents. Reasons for abuse were economic (by avoiding consultation with doctors), addiction, and easy availability. Two hundred and fifty (63.61%) of the respondents desired to see a doctor before taking any medicines in future. Conclusion: We have found substantial use of over-the-counter medications in our study. We recommend a strong patient education program and government legislative control over the sale of medications in the country.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-5
Number of pages3
JournalMedical Forum Monthly
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2002


  • OTC medication
  • Self-care
  • Self-medication


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