Self-medication is becoming a common type of self-care behavior among the population of many countries. Many international studies have investigated the prevalence and nature of self-medication practices at the population level. In Nigeria, some workers have also looked at the population prevalence of self-medication in general; however the prevalence of antibiotic self-medication among medical undergraduates has not yet been studied. The interest in studying this practice among this select group is due to the fact that they are the future prescribers and health educators of the population of Nigeria. The study was a cross-sectional pre-tested questionnaire-based study carried out among medical students of the Bayero University, Kano, North-West Nigeria during a two-week period in August 2008. The information from the returned questionnaire were coded, entered and analyzed using SPSS Version 12 statistical software. A total of 183 students filled and returned the questionnaire giving a response rate of 83.2%. Out of these respondents, 120 (65.6%) were males and the mean age of respondents was 23.2 ± 2.5 years (Range 17 to 31). 71 (38.8%) of the medical students admitted to the practice and there was no statistically significant difference among the different levels of medical education (p >0.05). Antibiotics from the penicillin group (ampicillin/cloxacillin, amoxicillin and ampicillin) were the most frequently used. Self-medication with antibiotics is prevalent among medical undergraduates in Northern Nigeria. There is a need for an intervention to address this practice.
Key words: Antibiotics, self-medication, medical undergraduates, Nigeria.
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