Medicines for self-medication are often called
‘Non-Prescription’ or ‘Over The Counter’ (OTC) and are
available without a doctor’s prescription through
pharmacies. In some countries OTC products are also
available in supermarkets and other outlets.
The World Self-Medication Industry (WSMI) defines
Self-Medication as the treatment of common health
problems with medicines especially designed and labeled
for use without medical supervision and approved as safe
and effective for such use.
Over the counter (OTC) drugs is a form of
self-medication. The buyer diagnoses his own illness and
buys a specific drug to treat it based on his previous
experience or after receiving advice from his associates
or the salesman at the pharmacy counter.
A person may also self-medicate by taking more or less
than the recommended dose of a drug. Self-medication is
the use of drugs sometimes illicit, to treat a perceived
or real malady, often of a psychological nature.
What is the Basis of Self Medication?
Interested and Informed consumers
Everyday, everywhere, consumers reach for self-care
products to help them through their common health
problems. They do so because
It may be easier for them.
It may be more cost or time efficient.
They may not feel their situation merits making an
appointment with a healthcare professional.
They may have few or no other options
challenge and opportunity for governments, healthcare
professionals, and providers of self-medication
products, then, is to have a responsible framework in
place for self-medication.
There is evidence that consumers can and do practice
self-medication responsibly. There is also support
showing consumers recognize and respect nonprescription
medicines. As a whole, they use them appropriately,
carefully, and safely; and they read nonprescription
Consumer practice studies in many countries - in Asia,
Europe, and the Americas - document this fact. While
there are some variations in the incidence of studied
health conditions and responses to them, people around
the world generally respond to their everyday health
problems in much the same way. They let the condition
run its course roughly half the time, but turn to
nonprescription products about a quarter of the time.
Studies show people are typically cautious and careful
when they do turn to nonprescription medicines. They
read labels, and they generally take products for less
than the maximum period of time indicated on the label.
Finally, aging populations, increased interest and
emphasis on wellness and disease prevention, and
consumer empowerment themes are all trends prevalent in
many societies. Self-medication fits into these trends
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