To Self-Medicate Or not to Self-Medicate?

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Conceptual Framework
  • Statement of the Problem
    Significance of the Study
    Scope & Delimitations
  • Definition of Terms
  • Review of Related Literature & Studies
    Poverty-Induced Self-Medication
    Self-medication patterns among medical students in South India
  • Methodology
    Research Design
    Research Subjects
    Criteria in Selecting Participants
    Research Procedures
    Data Gathering Instruments
    Research Locale
    Data Analysis


This chapter presents the overview, as well as the conceptual framework, where ideas are presented in a diagram, statement of the problem, significance of the study, which marks the importance and the intention of the researchers, and the definition of terms.


Self-medication can be defined as the practice of patients or individuals using medicine to treat self-diagnosed conditions or symptoms. There are several benefits to proper and appropriate self-medication, such are: easier access medical relief, the patient has an active role to his/her health, the burden of the government due to health issues that are used to treat minor health issues. However, self-medication is not entirely a safe method, specifically if it is non-responsible self-medication. Possible risks of self-medication include incorrect self-diagnosis, allergic reactions, dangerous drug interactions, incorrect usage or dosage, incorrect choice of treatment, or even developing a severe disease. (Ruiz, 2010)

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As for example, antibiotics that are accessible to any consumers may be taken without prescription but creates drug resistance to the body when taken. Therefore, it creates a higher tendency of the same amount of drug intake being not enough on the next time that the same person will take it. The body with drug resistance may require a higher dose of that medicine to treat the disease but may have a higher risk of having of organ failures, such as kidney failure and liver disease, and other negative impacts to a human body. Other than antibiotics, pain relievers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (includes aspirin and ibuprofen) are also included in the list of over-the-counter, nonprescription drugs that may result to the said failures and damage.

Almost every day self-medication is being practiced. During the 1960’s the West-self-care and self-medication were viewed as irrelevant and even unhealthy methods. Up to this day, this condescending approach to medicine, that is supported by health systems, in order to treat illnesses still remains a common approach to health care in many countries not only in the Philippines but all over the world. (Hughes CM, 2001)

Nowadays, there are several existing reasons that provoke the field of Science to study the dominant logic and aftermath of taking self-medication. This comes from the theory of increasing number of Filipino patients diagnosed with different internal organ failures and other deleterious outcomes after having self-diagnosis and medication for a long period of time.

Conceptual Framework

Statement of the Problem

  1. What are the medicinal drugs that are included in the list of self-medicated drugs that may cause kidney failure, liver disease, and other harmful outcomes?
  2. What are the reasons as to why people choose self-medication over medicinal or doctor’s prescription?
  3. What are the other repercussions of having self-medication other than major organ failures?

Significance of the Study

After several generations of Filipino families, the act of having self-medication has almost become part of the tradition in the field of medicine. As we come up with several reasons of choosing self-medication instead of having doctor’s prescriptions, majority experiences the existence of further conflicts and failures in their body making it harder and more contradicting as to the reasons why people choose self-medication, especially in terms of money.

The study aims to lessen the drug-induced prevalence of kidney failure and liver disease by determining the list of medicinal drugs that are used in self-medication, the reasons of people why they take self-medication, and the success and fail result of self-medication to people.


General Objectives:

To lessen the drug-induced prevalence of kidney failure and liver disease in the community

Specific Objectives:

  1. To contribute to the present knowledge, to disseminate information, and to heightened awareness of the cons of self-medication
  2. To determine the types of self-medicated medicine that causes organ failure and/or other negative effects on the people’s body
  • To summarize the reasons as to why people undergo self-medication rather than having a medical consultation with a health professional
  • To know the aftermath, success and fail results, of having self-medication

Scope & Delimitations

The case study focuses mainly on three things:

  1. Determining the list of medicinal drugs that are nonprescription and are taken for self-medication
  2. Knowing the reasons as to why people choose self-medication
  3. Knowing the aftermaths, negative and positive results, of self-medication to people

This study covers only the medical doctors in some hospitals of Metro Manila and respondents from some areas of Quezon City. However, this study will not cover other medical treatments and their immediate actions upon answering survey questions.

Definition of Terms

Self-medication – a process of having or taking medicinal drugs without a doctor’s prescription

Antibiotics – a kind of drug that limits bacterial growth or destroys harmful microorganisms in the body

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – pain, fever, and inflammation relievers such as aspirins, and naproxen

Condescending - showing or characterized by a patronizing or superior attitude toward others (Merriam Webster, 2018)

Medical prescription - a written direction for a therapeutic or corrective agent; specifically: one for the preparation and use of a medicine (Merriam Webster, 2018)

Drug-induced - caused by recreational or medical drugs (Collins Dictionary)


Review of Related Literature & Studies

The use of modern pharmaceuticals in a Filipino village: Doctors' prescription and self-medication

This research explains that a huge percentage of sicknesses in children are treated without doctor consultation. Half of the situations, where consultation is not involved, pharmaceuticals—both prescription and non-prescription—are consumed. Symptomatic therapies like cough syrups are the most common. Almost half of the cough syrups used are ill-suited to be used in common sickness in children. Prescriptions by doctors have many harmful characteristics in common with self-medication. However, the example of doctors' prescriptions seems to promote the options for pricey, usually risky, remedy in self-medication. (Hardon, 2002)

Poverty-Induced Self-Medication

According to Gertler (2015), it is pretty obvious why people seek cheap healthcare. Sometimes this means going to a "manghihilot" or taking the advice of family and friends. However, it can also mean not taking a complete dose of a prescription so that it can be saved for emergencies. These types of healthcare are more threatening than they may seem.

Self-medication patterns among medical students in South India

Badiger (2012) conducted research to determine the patterns and understand why medical students execute this type of medical treatment. The gathered information states that medical students take advice from each other or from journals that are easily accessed. Performing this kind of action can lead to complications that will have an opposite effect on the students. The conclusion of the study was to accentuate these probable complications for the students.

Self-Medication Practices and Risk Factors for Self-Medication among Medical Students in Belgrade, Serbia

The research purpose was to explain the growing rate of self-medication and its possible causes within the society of medical students. Students answered a questionnaire aligned with the topic of self-medication. The conclusion of the study was that self-medication is an essential part in the community of medical students to be propagated through a disciplined manner with sufficient knowledge. (Lukovic, 2011)

Prescription Drug Use and Self-Prescription among Training Physicians

Guille (2013) discussed the study of the self-prescription of medications on physicians in training is very common and can lead to many concerns and their diagnosis should be done by specialists. Factors including their insufficient clinical experiences and heavy workloads that cause stress. After comparing both studies from the previous years she found out that the rate of self-medication heavily reduced in numbers in the succeeding 13 years the first study was conducted. This shows that physicians in training gave time themselves time to make regular clinic appointments.

Assessment of Self-Medication Practices among Medical, Pharmacy, and Health Science Students in Gondar University, Ethiopia

In this research study, Abay (2010) approaches the topic of how important Self-Medication is and its factors to medical, pharmacy, and health science students. The study suggests that the factors in self-medication of the students were the experiences of being in the same situation recurrently and the nonchalant degree of sickness. As per conclusion to this study, people habitually do the process of self-medication with the drugs along the spectrum of regular anti-pains to antibiotics. In this context, professionals need to increase their way of disseminating information about the pros and cons of it.



This chapter presents the research design, sample procedures, research locale, scope & limitations, data gathering instrument, research gathering procedures, and data analysis.

Research Design

This study used a quasi-experimental design under quantitative research in order to achieve the purpose of this study – which is to heightened alert and information dissemination to lessen the drug-induced prevalence of kidney failure and liver disease, and other negative aftermaths of self-medication in the community.

Research Subjects

This study aims to target and raise awareness among all the members of the community, especially for those who are currently having self-medication and planning to have self-medication.

Criteria in Selecting Participants

  • Medical Doctors and experts that specialized in the field of medicine
  • Adult respondents with the age range of 18-30 years old
  • Adults that are undergoing self-medication and experienced the success and/or fail results of self-medication

Research Procedures

Pre-tested questionnaires were prepared in order to evaluate the subjects’ responses to provide answers to the main objective of this study. The subjects were notified that the information collected will be anonymous, and participation is voluntary. The questionnaire and interview aim to gain information about the following: determining the list of medicinal drugs that are nonprescription and are taken for self-medication, gathering people’s opinion for choosing self-medication, and knowing the success and fail rate of self-medication to people.

Data Gathering Instruments

Surveys sheets were used as an instrument to gather subjects’ responses. An open-ended question was given to accept further responses without limitations and for a wider view of the study. Short interview with the respondents, especially to the medical doctors and experts, were also conducted for interaction and for a clearer way of gathering their responses. Videos were taken and survey sheets were collected and compiled for the validity of the data stated in the results and discussion section of the study.

Research Locale

This study was conducted in some areas of Metro Manila where the chosen respondents are the medical experts and residents that are undertaking self-medication and obtained a success and fail results of self-medication.

Data Analysis

Computation for mean and percentage will be most applicable for this type of research. Tables and charts were used to showcase the computed and gathered data.

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