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Abstract

KNOWLEDGE ATTITUDE AND PRACTICE REGARDING PARACETAMOL USE AMONG MEDICAL AND NON-MEDICAL STUDENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF KHARTOUM, SUDAN

Sayed Halaly*, Samar H. Mubarak, Abraa A. Sharif, Siham Balla, Amani Abdrhaman, Haitham Awadalla, Zainab S. Dahab, Kamil Mirgani and Nuha M. E. Agabna

ABSTRACT

Background: Paractamol is the most commonly used analgesic worldwide. It is one of the over the counter (OTC) drugs and is an effective analgesic in treating mild to moderate pain and fever. Aim: The aim of the study is to assess Knowledge, attitude and practice towards paracetamol use among medical and non-medical students in the University of Khartoum (U of K). Materials and Methods: A descriptive cross sectional study was conducted among medical and non-medical students of the University of Khartoum during October- November 2016. Three hundred and forty four students were randomly selected and interviewed. Half of them (172) were from the Faculty of Medicine and the other half (172) were from the Faculty of Education. A structured questionnaire to assess the Knowledge, attitude and practice of the students regarding paracetamol use was used. Statistical analysis: Data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 21. Chi square test was used to assess the association between the type of education (medical or non-medical) and each of the level of knowledge, attitude and practice of the respondents. Results: The total sample was 344 students; it was predominantly females (73% females and 27% males). The mean age was 21 years (SD±1.9). Only a quarter (27%) of the respondents had good total knowledge regarding Paractamol use (41% of medical and 13% of non-medical students), with p value< 0.05. More than three quarters (79%) of the students agree that paracetamol overdose can cause death, p<0.05. Half (50%) of the students agree that taking multidrug containing paracetamol is not safe (58% of medical and 42% of non-medical), p<0.05. There is a positive association between the type of education (medical or non-medical) and the students‟ level of knowledge towards paracetamol use and their attitude towards both the risks of paracetamol to cause death in overdose and the use of multiple drugs containing paracetamol). Medical students are more knowledgeable about the use of paracetamol and its risks. Nearly half (48%) of the students agree that self-prescription is harmful (44% of medical and 51% of non-medical). Eighty one per cent of the students who took paracetamol, headache was the most common cause for using paracetamol (88%), and both the pharmacy and the supermarket were the most common sources for paracetamol. Of all the students who took paracetamol in the last month 85% did that without prescription i.e. with self prescription, 39% mentioned that they have enough knowledge to self prescribe (commonly medical students) and 25% of them did that to avoid time loss (commonly non-medical ones). While there was no association between the type of education and attitude towards self prescription (p>0.05) there is an association between the type of education and the ways of getting paractamol (p<0.05). Self prescription is more common in medical students. Only 15% took paracetamol with prescription, 58% of them did that because of their fear of side effects (commonly medical students) and 20% to avoid wrong doses (commonly non-medical students). Conclusion: Most of the students had poor knowledge about paractamol but medical students had better knowledge than non-medical ones. Most students have good general attitude but most of them had poor attitude regarding self-prescription. Self-medication was the most common way of getting paracetamol, and it is high in both medical and non-medical students but is more common among medical students. There is an association between the type of education and students‟ knowledge and attitude regarding paracetamol use and the ways of obtaining it. Headache was the most common cause of taking paracetamol and both the pharmacy and supermarket were the most common sources to obtain paracetamol. Awareness campaigns and health education sessions are needed to increase the awareness of the university students and the community about OTC drugs including paracetamol. More studies are needed to explore the problem of paractamol use in the entire Sudanese population.

Keywords: Paracetamol use, knowledge, attitude, practice, over the counter drugs (OTC), prescription, self-prescription, medical students, non-medical students, University of Khartoum.


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