Medication Use in the Community: Comparison between Urban and Rural Home Pharmacies
Keywords:consumer safety, expiration date, self-medication, storage and disposal
Objective: This study aimed to examine the contents of home pharmacies and medication use, as well as storage and disposal habits in urban and rural households in Serbia.
Material and Methods: This prospective research was conducted within 70 households in Novi Sad (urban setting) and Laćarak (rural setting) from October 1, 2015 to January 15, 2016. The data were collected using a standardized questionnaire, as well as by direct examination of drugs stored in households.
Results: The most common groups of drugs stored were cardiovascular drugs, drugs for the nervous system, antirheumatic products and antimicrobials. A high percentage of drugs for the alimentary tract were found stored in Laćarak, while drugs for the respiratory tract were discovered in Novi Sad. Prescription only medications (POMs) made up 69.7% of all medications in Laćarak and 60.6% in Novi Sad. POMs were purchased independently in high amounts (13.2% in Laćarak and 9.1% in Novi Sad). Presence of expired medications was higher in Laćarak (12.0%) than Novi Sad (5.8%). Over two-thirds of the households stored medications properly; however, only 10.0% of respondents reported the proper disposal of unused medications.
Conclusion: The structures of home pharmacies in Novi Sad and Laćarak differ, which implies different healthcare needs. The practice of self-medicating was noted both in Novi Sad and Laćarak. While Laćarak residents rely more on the advice of friends and family, Novi Sad residents buy medicine mostly without any consultation. Medications in both environments are stored properly in the majority of households, but mostly disposed of improperly together with household waste.
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