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Background In Nepal, self-treatment is common and complementary medicine practitioners play an important role in providing health services. Previous studies on drug use patterns have been mainly carried out in the Kathmandu valley. Studies in the Pokhara valley, western Nepal are lacking. The objectives of our study were to obtain: 1) baseline information on drug use patterns in the preceding six-month period, 2) reasons for using complementary and self-medication and 3) any association of drug use patterns with demographic variables.
Methods Health workers of the community medicine department carried out the study in Pokhara city and Bedabari village using a semi-structured questionnaire. Differences in the proportion of patients using self-medication and complementary medicines according to sex, age, place of residence and socioeconomic status of the family were analysed by the z test of proportions (p < 0.05).
Findings and Conclusion One hundred and twenty individuals from 112 households had used prescribed allopathic or complementary remedies. Seventy-one point six percent of the respondents had used allopathic medicines. The commonest allopathic medicines prescribed were antibiotics and paracetamol. Complementary medicine use was more common among older respondents (> 30 years). Thirty-nine families practiced self-medication with home remedies accounting for 18.9% of the drugs used. Self-medication was more common among rural households. Complementary practitioners should be integrated into the health care system to provide health care in the rural areas. Studies on drug use patterns and on factors influencing drug use in the remote areas of Nepal are urgently required.
Keywords: drugs, drug-monitoring-methods, non-prescription-therapeutic use, self-medication-statistics
Singapore Med J 2003; 44(7): 352-356