Background: Self-medication can lead to serious consequences but its overall prevalence in students is not known. Aims: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of self-medication in students through a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies on the prevalence of self-medication in students across the world. Methods: PubMed/MEDLINE, EMBASE, ISI/Web of Science and Google Scholar were searched up to October 2017. Studies reporting the prevalence of self-treatment in university students were selected. Data recorded included year of publication, country where the study was conducted, sample size, prevalence of self-medication, sex and mean age of students, and faculty of students (medical or non-medical). A random-effect model was used to determine effect size with a 95% confidence interval (CI). Heterogeneity across studies was assessed with the I2 test. A sensitivity analysis assessed stability of the findings. Results: A total of 89 studies were included in the analysis, which comprised 60 938 students. The overall prevalence of self-medication in university students was 70.1% (95% CI: 64.3–75.4%). Female students self-medicated more often than male students: odds ratio = 1.45 (95% CI%: 1.17–1.79). The prevalence of self-medication in medical students (97.2%) was higher than in non-medical students (44.7%). The I2 test indicated high, statistically significant heterogeneity. The sensitivity analysis showed that the results were stable. Conclusion: The prevalence of self-medication among students worldwide is high. Programmes on the risks of self-medication and increasing control and monitoring of the sale of drugs are recommended. Facilitating students’ access to doctors and health centres could reduce self-medication in students.
|Translated title of the contribution||Prevalence of self-medication in university students: Systematic review and meta-analysis|
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal|
|Publication status||Published - 2020|