HEALTH PROBLEMS AND MEDICATION SELF- MANAGEMENT AMONG UNIVERSITY STUDENTS IN THE UAE
Asma Ibrahim Elkish, Hanan Nasr Sandid, Maitha Mohammed Alaryani, Marah Bassam Elkhatib, Mohammed Shamssain*
Aim: This study aims to look at the most common health problems existing among students & what could contribute to worsen their health status. Then, to investigate the prevalence of self-medication, its risk factors & to give some recommendations to avoid its spread. Also, to illustrate the role of the pharmacist as a drug expert & to evaluate its effectiveness. Then to compare our results with other studies in different countries. Materials and Methods: This is the first study looking at health-related problems and self-medication in UAE students. We are investigating health problems and self-medication among 1040 male and female university students in the UAE. The study is divided into 3 parts. We have designed and validated a paper based questionnaire which has been distributed to various universities in the UAE. In addition, we built a freely accessed, self administered web based questionnaire using (google forms) to help us get access into more universities in the UAE. Questions were related to existing health problems, self-medications, stress and lifestyle. We used SPSS (version20) for data analysis Results: Mean (S.D) age and BMI of male and female students were 20.9 (Â±4.7) years, 20.6 (Â±2.9) years, 25.7 (Â±4.0) and 23.3 (Â±4.2), respectively. Approximately 25% of the students preferred self-medication than going to a doctor, for different reasons such as inability to afford physician fees, lack of time & trusting their own knowledge. The most common health problems were cold or flu (34.6%), acne (11.95%), un-tolerated menstruation pain (7.55%), migraine (6.3%), asthma (6.1%), IBS (5.3%), eczema (5.01%), hair health (4.9%), constipation (4.01%) and others (10.8%). Students preferred to use analgesics (64.4%), antibiotics (6.35%), Antihistamine (5.93%), Decongestants (3.75%) and Acne drugs (2.2%) as a choice to treat their ailments. The gender & specialty affected the desire of students towards self-treatment. Life style mainly diet & stress had a strong impact on general health as well. Comparison between students in UAE & other students abroad revealed that UAE has the least percent of self-treatment which might reflect the awareness of our students about the risks of self-treatment. Conclusion: Self- treatment is not wide spread yet in the UAE and is still a risk & causes many problems especially among the elderly & non-educated people. Thus, there is a need to hold awareness sessions & campaigns to improve the studentsâ€Ÿ knowledge about self-treatment and their medicine & aid them to the safest & most proper medicine selection and use. Gender and specialty have shown certain impacts on the decision of self-treatment. The role of the pharmacist as a drug consultant was more noticeable after obtaining the drug, not before. Students who are using internet as a source of their medicine are at higher risk of having side effects because they are using untrusted websites. Unhealthy diet & stress increase the risk of having disease, therefore, it is very important to initiate health-related interventions programs aiming to improve the health of these students.
Keywords: migraine, asthma, eczema, Antihistamine etc.
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