Predictors of Self-Medication in Iran: A Notional Survey Study

Document Type : Research article


1 Department of Health Service Management, School of Health, Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran.

2 Health Human Resources Research Center, School of Management and Information Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.


While logical use of medicine is a priority in all health systems, people do self-medication- mainly using Nonprescription Drugs or Over the Counter (OTC) drugs- for different reasons. Self-medication is rising in many developing countries that could increase healthcare expenditure. The present study aimed to find the self-medication rate and predisposing, enabling, and need factors affecting it based on the Anderson behavioral model in the Iranian population. The present study uses 22470 households’ data acquired from Iranian utilization of healthcare survey at the national level (2016). Due to the study objective, the data of 13005 people who were over 15 years old and had outpatient healthcare needs two weeks before the survey. The survey included a binary question about self-medication, which is considered a dependent variable. Age, gender, marital status, literacy, job status, socio-economic status, location, basic health insurance, complementary health insurance, and need for health services were considered as independent variables. Data were analyzed using logistic regression. The self-medication rate was calculated at 26.3% that was different among different subgroups of the population. According to the model estimates, married (OR = 0.80, CI = 0.71-0.91) and housekeepers (OR = 0.79, CI = 0.67-0.93) had significantly lower self-medication. Moreover, the urban population (OR = 1.29, CI = 1.17-1.43), people without basic (OR = 1.32, CI = 1.10-1.58), and supplementary (OR = 1.18, CI = 1.04-1.35) health insurance and also people who had two or higher number of outpatient healthcare needs had significantly more self-medication (OR = 2.96, CI = 2.67-3.29). It can be concluded that need, enabling, and predisposing factors are respectively the main determinants of self-medication behavior. From a policy point of view, increasing effective health insurance coverage with a focus on people who have more health care needs can be helpful.

Graphical Abstract

Predictors of Self-Medication in Iran: A Notional Survey Study