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Self-therapy with various medications is a commonly practised form of children self-care among parents throughout the world, with the prevalence and pattern differing from country to country. Parental knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) regarding self-medication of their children need to be taken into consideration because children are more sensitive to adverse consequences of medication. This study was designed to assess Palestinian parents’ KAP towards self-medication for their children.
A descriptive, cross-sectional study was conducted in Palestine from October 2016 to February 2017, using a face-to-face interview questionnaire format, which was adapted from previous studies in this field. Data was collected by convenient sampling. The parents answered a questionnaire covering socio-demographic and economic variables; medication information; knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding self-medication; and the toxicity of medications used for self-therapy.
Among the 500 respondents interviewed, the total parents of 357 (73.4%) accepted using medications as self-therapy for their children. The most common reason for using self-medication was previous experience (54.6%). The medications most often used in such self-therapy are antipyretics (95%), followed by skin creams (46%) and anti-cough and anti-influenza medication (44.2%). Parental knowledge about toxicity was found to be inadequate knowledge. For example, around 70% of parents believe that paracetamol and multivitamin are not fatal in cases of overdose.
Self-medication of children is common among parents in Palestine. There has been a high tendency for parents to self-medicate their children, in particular with antipyretics. Moreover, antibiotics have been used without prescriptions by a large proportion of parents. As such, specific guidelines for appropriate self-therapy should be established. We must encourage pharmacists to educate parents on how to self-medicate medicine in proper doses and at the correct time, as well when the dose reaches a toxic level.
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