Background The use of self-medication in cancer patients in combination with conventional treatments has increased in recent years. Easy access to information makes it a common practice. In our country, cancer is the second leading cause of death after cardiovascular diseases. In this context, self-medication is a poorly documented practice. It is not without potential consequences.
Purpose To have a preliminary idea of the prevalence of self-medication in our cancer patients undergoing treatment.
Material and methods This was an observational prospective study conducted in December 2017 at the Functional Unit for Management of Products with Special Status (UFGPSP) of our pharmacy department during chemotherapic drugs-dispensing to cancer patients by means of a questionnaire of 19 questions organised around three items:
Knowledge about recommended treatments and their interactions.
Drugs and herbal medicine used in self–medication.
Results With an average duration of 9 min per patient, 156 interviews were conducted with a participation rate of 80.77% (n=126). Average age was 52±7.81. The study population was characterised by particularly precarious socioeconomic conditions such as 74 unemployed patients. One-hundred and eleven patients did not know their treatments, 100% of this sample were unaware of any interactions with other drugs, while 19 patients denied any self-medication without medical advice. For the rest of the patients (n=107), the two main reasons for the use of self-medication were: the relief of adverse effects (n=80) and the potentiation of the therapeutic effect (n=22) by use of herbal medicine including Marrubium vulgare and Euphorbia resinifera. The analgesics were in the majority for 66 patients followed by drugs for digestive disorders in 24 patients. Vitamins were taken by 15 patients. For 52 patients who used analgesics, the intake was punctual. It was less than 7 days for 19 patients who consumed drugs from the digestive sphere.
Conclusion A series of pharmaceutical interviews were set up at the UFGPSP to make patients aware of the dangers of self-medication and to inform them about their recommended treatments, the management of adverse effects and the main risky interactions to avoid.
References and/or acknowledgements Thanks to my co-worker for carrying out this study with me.
No conflict of interest.
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