Parents' Attitude and Practices Regarding the Use of Over-the-Counter Medicines to Their Children in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Author(s): Kamel Alenazi, Aghadir Al-ahmari, Khulud Alhumaidi, Shaya Alotaibi, Sultana Almutairi, Mohammed Alsuhaibani, Jamal Omer and Hassan Al-shehri

Objectives: This study aimed to evaluate the attitudes and practices of Saudi parents towards self-medication of over-the-counter medicines to treat their children. Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive observational research study was conducted in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia between august and September 2020. We developed a paperless questionnaire which consisted of three parts, comprising a total of 20 close-ended questions together. The first category asked about sociodemographic information, the second part consisted of 7 questions related to practice and the final section assessed the attitude towards parents’ self-medication to their children. Results: Majority of the participants were female (77.9%). Most of the parents were >30 years of age (80.2%) and had ≥ 5 children (34.7%). The mostly used over-the-counter medicine was paracetamol (54.1%). Parents’ primary source of information regarding the over-the-counter medicines was physicians (87.4%). Most parents opted for modern healthcare treatment (87.9%). Hospital was the main source of over-the-counter medicines for parents (46.8%). The mild symptoms prompted 87.0% parents to self-medicate their children. Most frequent medical complaints that led parents to use over-the-counter medicines were fever (62.3%). The overall mean attitude scores of parents out of twenty-four were 17.1 ± 3.56 and therefore demonstrated positive attitude. Parents using traditional medicines and with children of allergic history showed more positive attitude towards over-the-counter self-medication in comparison with modern healthcare medicine usage and children with no allergic history (18.7 ± 3.01 versus 16.9 ± 3.58, p value<0.001) and (18.6 ± 2.74 versus 16.9 ± 3.60, p value<0.001), respectively. Conclusion: Over-the-counter use of medicines among parents for their children is exponentially high. Education of healthcare personnel dispensing over-the-counter medicines and stern implementation of regulations are need of an hour.

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