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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 36-39

Use of internet for practice of self-medication: We are heading toward an era of internet pharmacy

1 Medical Student Final Year, DY Patil Medical College, Pune, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Surgery, NSCB Government Medical College, Jabalpur, MP, India

Correspondence Address:
Pawan Agarwal
292/293, Napier Town, Jabalpur - 482 003, Madhya Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mjdrdypu.mjdrdypu_242_20

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Background: Internet has become the major source of health-related information, leading to a growing trend toward unsupervised self-medication using internet. This survey was conducted to assess the extent of internet use to obtain health information/self-medication, their perception regarding side effects of drug used, types/quality of information, and which site was commonly surfed for information. Materials and Methods: A web-based tool (Google Forms) was used to develop a questionnaire to obtain information about extent and impact of internet on self-medication by general population. The questionnaire included 9 questions along with demographic details of participants. The questionnaire was sent to participants by WhatsApp and E-mail and their responses were analyzed. Results: Four hundred and forty-eight (56%) persons responded to survey. There were 226 (50.4%) males and 222 (49.6%) females. The average age of responders was 35.10 years. Overall, 59.8% of responders used internet to obtain health information and self-medication. Out of these, 54.47% took allopathic medications without consulting the doctors. The majority of persons self-medicated for minor illnesses, but 11.6% of persons self-diagnosed and self-medicated for serious illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, cancers, and psychological problems. 23.2% of peoples think that information on internet carries no risk for self-medication and 21% think that internet use can be a substitute for consulting a doctor. Google was the most common site (93.8%) surfed by participants. The health information provided on net was perceived as very good by 43.7%. Conclusions: There are growing trends toward the self-medication using internet. The health information on internet should be made easier, simpler, and safer to achieve positive health outcomes, but patients should be discouraged for self-medication. To support the safe and appropriate use of nonprescription medicines, minimum practice standards should be set by the governing medical bodies in each country.</ABS>

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