Objective: To evaluate self-medication practices in the support staff of a tertiary care hospital. Methods: It was a cross-sectional study in which a self-developed questionnaire was used. Study population consisted of two categories of paramedical staff (Category I: Nurses, Category II: Non nursing staff – technicians, clerks). Results: It was found that 68% of Cat I and 52% of Cat II subjects practised self-medication. Self-medication with analgesics was the most prevalent. A high percentage of the nursing staff was found to be self-medicating with antibiotics although the awareness levels about antibiotic resistance are high among them. Nearly 50% of the subjects selfmedicated with nutritional supplements and there was a greater tendency to select the nutritional supplement by means of advertisements. Most subjects in both categories stopped taking their medication immediately after cessation of symptoms, reflecting on the inadequacy of knowledge of drug dosages and the importance of completing drug courses. Common sites for obtaining drugs were the wards and OPDs of the hospital and the local pharmacies. ~75% of the nursing staff would be confident of prescribing drugs based on their experience – as compared to the ~15% of non-nursing staff who would. In conclusion, nursing staff are found to be self-medicating more and with higher confidence. There should be sensitization at time of recruitment of staff and conducting CMEs, hence making self-medication a more rational and effective tool of self-care.
Key words: Antibiotic resistance, Self-medication, Support staff.