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Original Research

Patients’ use of and attitudes towards self-medication in rural and remote Slovenian family medicine practices: a cross-sectional multicentre study

Submitted: 29 January 2016
Revised: 18 October 2016
Accepted: 10 February 2017
Published: 7 April 2017

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Author(s) : Klemenc-Ketis Z, Mitrovic D.

Citation: Klemenc-Ketis Z, Mitrovic D.  Patients’ use of and attitudes towards self-medication in rural and remote Slovenian family medicine practices: a cross-sectional multicentre study. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2017; 17: 3893. Available: (Accessed 24 October 2017). DOI:


Introduction:  Self-medication is very common in the general population, but its prevalence can differ according to the place of residence. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of self-medication in patients attending rural and remote family physicians, and to detect the important factors that are associated with it.
Methods:  A cross-sectional multicentre study was performed in 24 rural and remote family medicine practices in Slovenia was performed. The aim was to include 720 patients who visited their family physicians on a particular day. The authors used a validated questionnaire on self-medication, which consisted of questions about demographic characteristics (sex, age, education and working status), questions about health status, questions about self-medication practices, and questions about attitudes towards self-medication. The level of participants’ trust in different sources of medical information was measured by a five-point Likert scale. The participants were asked to take into account the year 2013 when completing the questionnaire.
Results:  Of 720 invited patients, 371 (51.5%) completed the questionnaire. There were 233 (62.8%) women in the sample. The mean age of the participants was 48.1 (±15.1) years. Self-medication was practised by 300 (80.9%) participants. In multivariate analysis, the variables independently associated with self-medication were information on self-medication obtained from pharmacists, and information on self-medication obtained from relatives. Additionally, some other variables had high odds ratios such as information on self-medication obtained from books, information on self-medication obtained from media, and reason for self-medication: burdening physicians.
Conclusions:  The practices of self-medication in rural Slovenia as reported by patients can be defined as moderately safe. People tend to seek more information on self-medication but the main sources for this are lay informants. Further studies are needed to explore the safety of such practices.

Key words: cross-sectional study, prevalence, self-medication, Slovenia.

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