Use and abuse of analgesics in Nigeria: a community survey

Niger J Med. Oct-Dec 2004;13(4):379-82.


Background: Chronic consumption of analgesics has been shown to increase the risk of end-stage renal disease. In Nigeria, these drugs are readily available as there is no legislation regulating their consumption. We report the use and abuse of analgesics in a Nigerian population.

Method: Using a pre-tested questionnaire, subjects in Zawan B ward in Jos were interviewed regarding analgesic use. Cumulative lifetime dose of drugs consumed was calculated by obtaining the product of the average number of pills consumed in a week by duration of use in years. Analgesic abuse was defined as cumulative lifetime use of >5000 pills.

Results: Common analgesics regularly consumed were paracetamol in 58.1%, analgesic mixtures 28.9% and NSAIDS 13%. Common indications for use of these drugs were musculoskeletal pains, headache, fever and stress. Analgesic abuse was present in 22.6% of the respondents.

Conclusion: Analgesic abuse is common in Jos, Nigeria. The sale and consumption of these drugs should be restricted by legislation.

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen / administration & dosage
  • Acetaminophen / adverse effects
  • Analgesics / administration & dosage
  • Analgesics / adverse effects*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects*
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / chemically induced
  • Male
  • Nigeria / epidemiology
  • Nonprescription Drugs
  • Risk
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Analgesics
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Nonprescription Drugs
  • Acetaminophen