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VOLUME 11 , ISSUE 2 ( May-August, 2024 ) > List of Articles


Self-medication: A Harmful Practice and a Cause of Poisoning Admissions in a Tertiary Care Hospital in Eastern India

Tanmoy Biswas, Anurag Chaudhuri, Suvro Ganguly, Lopamudra D Chowdhury

Keywords : Emergency admissions, Poisoning, Self-medication related overdosing

Citation Information : Biswas T, Chaudhuri A, Ganguly S, Chowdhury LD. Self-medication: A Harmful Practice and a Cause of Poisoning Admissions in a Tertiary Care Hospital in Eastern India. Bengal Physician Journal 2024; 11 (2):76-79.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10070-8050

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 06-07-2024

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2024; The Author(s).


Background: The pattern of poisoning in India varies with socioeconomic status as well as region. A thorough understanding of the demographics and management of poisoning cases is essential for the development of well-informed policies, targeted interventions, and effective public awareness campaigns. The indiscriminate practice of self-medication in developing countries like India often leads to cases of overdosing, which poses a significant alarm. The present study aimed to explore poisoning cases in a tertiary care setup and determine the prevalence of self-medication-related overdosing as a cause of poisoning. Materials and methods: This cross-sectional observational study included emergency admission cases of poisoning in whom demographic data including age and gender were noted. Information on the type and cause of poisoning were noted based on clinical records and history elicitation from patients or their caregivers. In the case of drug overdose-related poisoning cases, the chemical nature of the drug and the mode of the drug procurement were probed. Data were analyzed statistically. Results: The study observed that the age group of less than 20 years was the most vulnerable, while the age group of more than 70 years was the least vulnerable. Females were most affected. Among the types of poisoning observed, accidental (49%) and suicidal (48%) intent were almost the same. About 2.55% of cases were homicidal. Drugs were most commonly the causative agents (39%). Among the drug-causing poisonings, self-medication-related overdose was as high as 40.98%. Among the various causative agents, sedatives-hypnotics were the most common causative drugs, including alprazolam, chlordiazepoxide, diazepam, and zolpidem. This was followed by antihistaminics, antitussives, and antihypertensives. On the contrary, prescription drugs were responsible for 59.01% of drug poisoning cases. Conclusion: The healthcare system including the healthcare professionals and various government programs must come forward to educate the masses regarding the hazards of self-medication. This will impart knowledge and understanding of the self-medication practices and will curb the associated menace.

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