Self-medication practices in Khartoum State, Sudan

Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2006 Apr;62(4):317-24. doi: 10.1007/s00228-006-0107-1. Epub 2006 Mar 7.


Objective: The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of self-medication with proprietary medicines and herbs in Khartoum State, Sudan, and to evaluate factors associated with self-medication.

Methods: A pre-piloted questionnaire was used to collect data from a sample of 1,200 individuals, selected from all three cities of Khartoum State using a multistage stratified clustered sampling.

Results: The response rate was 83.3%. Medicines, including herbs, were used by 81.8% of the respondents without a medical consultation within 2 months prior to the study period. Proprietary medicines alone were used by 28.3% (CI: 25.6-31.2), herbs alone by 20.7% (CI: 18.3-23.4), while 32.8% (CI: 29.9-35.8) had used both. Self-medication with proprietary medicines was least common with the middle-aged (OR: 0.12; 0.09-0.17), the elderly (OR: 0.29; 0.20-0.42) and low level of education [illiterate (OR: 0.26, 0.18-0.37) and primary/intermediate school (OR: 0.07, 0.04-0.11)]. It was most associated with low (OR: 5.3; 3.8-7.4) and middle income (OR: 4.3; 3.1-5.9), but no gender difference was found (P>0.05). Self-medication behaviour with herbs was most associated with middle-age (OR: 1.7; 1.3-2.2), female gender (OR: 2.2 (1.7-2.8) and lowest income earners (OR: 2.5; 1.9-3.5).

Conclusions: The prevalence of self-medication with medicines including herbs in urban areas of Khartoum State is high. Self-medication behaviour varies significantly with a number of socio-economic characteristics. Our findings have major public health policy implications for countries like Sudan.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Education
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Income / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Self Medication / methods
  • Self Medication / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Class
  • Sudan
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Population