Self-medication during COVID-19 outbreak: a cross sectional online survey in Dhaka city

Morshed Nasir, A. S. M. Salauddin Chowdhury, Tahmina Zahan


Background: Self-medication is a common practice in Bangladesh as it provides a low-cost alternative for people, which involves inappropriate and injudicious use of medicines treat self-recognized symptoms by the people.

Methods: A cross sectional online survey was conducted on 626 citizens by structured questionnaires during COVID-19 outbreak from April to May 2020 in Dhaka city, to observe the prevalence, pattern and sources of self-medication among the respondents with high socio-economic standings and education.

Results: The prevalence of self-medication amid the outbreak of COVID-19 was 88.33% and only 179 (28.59%) took medication with doctors’ advice and remaining 447 (71.40%) respondents took the drugs as “self-medication” by other sources. The most frequently used prescription-only drug during the outbreak were ivermectin (77.15%), azithromycin (54.15%), doxycycline (40.25%). The common symptoms for which the respondent took self-medications were fever, throat pain, dry-cough and total 105 (16.77%) respondents took medications without having any symptoms. Almost 355 (85.33%) had taken medication without doing any test for COVID-19. This could be due to unusual distress, caused by high self-awareness of their health and buying capacity of medication.

Conclusions: The study revealed the causes of self-medication as news of spread, effects and remedies in media channels, internet; mental stress of lockdown and isolation, insecurity and panic about scarcity of drug and healthcare support. High risks of developing antibiotic resistance, adverse drug reactions and financial loss was predictable with absence of strict regulatory enforcement to protect people and proper utilization resources during COVID-19 outbreak in Dhaka city.


COVID-19, Self-medication, Drug dispensing, Rational use of drug

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