Background: The practice of self-medication has been recognized since ages. There has been enough literature available regarding it being there for medical illnesses, however, there is dearth of information about it for dental causes. Hence, this study was designed to determine the abuse of self-medication for dental illnesses and the reasons for resorting to it. Methods: This study was conducted in 10 taluks of Belgaum district. 230 consenting respondents were selected by random sampling from 10 villages and interviewed with the aid of 18-point, closed-ended question based, semi-structured questionnaire. Results: 63.59% of the respondents admitted to self-medication. Odontalgia was the most common reason for which people resorted to self-medication (57.69%). 70% of the respondents did not have the knowledge about the dose, duration, side effects and interactions of drugs they had used. Paracetamol was the most commonly used drug for self-medication. Conclusion: Analgesics were the most common drugs abused for self-medication. Adequate health education of the populace was found mandatory to make people aware of the use and misuse of drugs, especially analgesics, and regarding the potential adverse effects they can show, especially when used repeatedly or, on a chronic basis. Also, dental health care services were supposed to be made readily available and affordable so that self-medication amongst rural patients could be reduced to the barest minimum.
Abhishek Singh Nayyar