Inappropriate self-medication among adolescents and its association with lower medication literacy and substance use

Chun Hsien Lee, Fong Ching Chang, Sheng Der Hsu, Hsueh Yun Chi, Li Jung Huang, Ming Kung Yeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background While self-medication is common, inappropriate self-medication has potential risks. This study assesses inappropriate self-medication among adolescents and examines the relationships among medication literacy, substance use, and inappropriate self-medication. Method In 2016, a national representative sample of 6,226 students from 99 primary, middle, and high schools completed an online self-administered questionnaire. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to examine factors related to inappropriate self-medication. Results The prevalence of self-medication in the past year among the adolescents surveyed was 45.8%, and the most frequently reported drugs for self-medication included nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or pain relievers (prevalence = 31.1%), cold or cough medicines (prevalence = 21.6%), analgesics (prevalence = 19.3%), and antacids (prevalence = 17.3%). Of the participants who practiced self-medication, the prevalence of inappropriate self-medication behaviors included not reading drug labels or instructions (10.1%), using excessive dosages (21.6%), and using prescription and nonprescription medicine simultaneously without advice from a health provider (polypharmacy) (30.3%). The results of multiple logistic regression analysis showed that after controlling for school level, gender, and chronic diseases, the participants with lower medication knowledge, lower self-efficacy, lower medication literacy, and who consumed tobacco or alcohol were more likely to engage in inappropriate self-medication. Conclusion Lower medication literacy and substance use were associated with inappropriate self-medication among adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0189199
JournalPloS one
Volume12
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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