Background: Despite the growing research interest in self-medication, little information has been available about its major determinants especially in developing countries. This informed the conduct of this study to determine the major factors that influence the pattern of self medication in a population of market women in Ifako-Ijaiye area of Lagos, Nigeria.
Methods: Interviewer administered pretested semistructured questionnaire was used to collect data from 205 market women selected by multistage sampling technique.
Results: The patent medicine dealers were the commonest source of information on medications (31.4%) and where they were obtained (52.2%). The exceptions were the educated (62.5%) respondents who obtained theirs from hospitals and pharmacies. Trade and generic names (61.1%) were common means of drug recognition especially among the educated respondents (P<.05). Education of the respondents was the major factor influencing the practice of self-medication though the pattern was descriptively associated with the marital status and educational level of the respondents (P<.05). Benefits of the practice includes in the order: curing of ailments (58.0%), saving time and money (32.0%) and independence of care (7.0%).
Conclusion: Literacy and public health education were the major factors influencing the pattern of self-medication among market women. Recommendations on the role of education of market women, patent medicine dealers and the importance of community pharmacy were suggested.