Objective: To assess the extent, pattern and determinants of non-prescription medicine use in an urban area of eastern India. Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional survey with total 392 subjects was carried out for 3 months by a structured questionnaire to assess the extent, pattern and determinants of non-prescription medicine use amongst the patients at a community retail medicine shop and a pharmacy running in Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model in a government hospital. Results: Our study found that 61.4% of the consumers indulged in the practice of self-medication. The commonest reason for self medication was a prevailing tendency in the community followed by cost-saving and convenience. The most commonly used medicines were antacids (43.4%) followed by analgesics-antipyretics (42.6%). It was found that only 12.5% completed an ongoing course of antibiotics. Consumption of ORS was commoner in diarrhoea than vomiting and only a few (13%) of the patients dissolved the ORS powder as directed. Only 9.7% of the subjects thought non-prescription medicine use is safe. Regarding the various types of medicine preparations used by them from the two types of pharmacy, a significant difference was noted only for eye drops (p = 0.003). This result might have been obtained due to prevailing ocular infections in the selected study population and underreporting at the Ophthalmology OPD of the nearest hospital. Conclusion: The current study has documented the extent of, factors associated with, and the pattern of non-prescription medicine use resulting in a surge of self-medication practice in urban area.
Key words: Non-prescription medicine use, Self-medication, PPP model, Retail pharmacy, Survey.