Objectives: The study was conducted to assess pattern and extent of self-medication practices, sources of drugs/drug information and perception of the disadvantages of self-medication by adolescents. Methods: A cross-sectional, descriptive, questionnaire-based design was adopted. The study was conducted among 270 in-school adolescents across 4 public secondary schools in Ife Central Local Government, Osun State. A weighted proportion (10%) of the total population of students (2681) were selected from 4 schools. Convenience sampling was used. Questionnaire covered socio demographic data, pattern of self-medication and extent to which students self-medicate. Permission to carry out the study was sought from the School Principals. Participation was voluntary and consent obtained from all participants.
Results: Females (50%) and students aged 14-16 years (66%) formed majority of the respondents. The prevalence of self-medication was found to be 33.6%. Patent medicine dealers constituted the highest source of student’s drug prescriptions, drug purchase and information on how to use the drugs. Most students self-medicated for malaria (50.8%) and cough/throat, (48.7%) infections. Pain killers and antibiotics/antimalarials were self medicated with mostly. Higher percentages viewed self-medication as beneficial and majority (55.5 – 72.7%) agreed with various disadvantages of self medication.
Conclusion: It is recommended that school-based health education on the use of medicines be offered to students starting from basic schools up to tertiary institutions so that they can get a better perspective and a more acceptable view of responsible self-medication. The risks/disadvantages of self-medication should also be discussed.