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Ana L. Gramajo, Gabriel E. Marquez, Victoria M. Sanchez, Victor E. Torres, Nilda Zelaya, Fernando Y. Peña, Claudio P. Juarez, Jose D. Luna; Self-medication In Ophthalmology: Two South American Cities, One Same Problem: A Comparative Study. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(14):5538.
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To detect, characterize and compare patterns of ophthalmic self-medication between Córdoba (Argentina) and Barranquilla (Colombia).
Cross-sectional analytic study. Patients older than 18 years old, who consulted for the first time in these two private ophthalmologic institutions from Latin America during August-November 2009, were included. Data were collected through a semi structured questionnaire conducted simultaneously in both institutions.
Five hundred and seventy patients participate in this survey. Comparable rate of ocular self-medication was found in both population studied (25.6% and 25.7% for Cordoba and Barranquilla, respectively). In relation to gender, the percentage of men and women who self-medicated was not significantly different in Barranquilla or Cordoba city. The major source of eye drops recommendation in the Argentineans patients was the pharmacist (28.3%); in comparison to Colombians, in which the social source was predominant (53.1%). The most frequently used product was a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drop in combination with a vasoconstrictive agent (32%) among people from Cordoba, while in Barranquilla, antibiotic eye drops were preferred (32.7%). Regarding age group, patients who practice self-medication was higher between the ages of 31 and 50 years old in Argentinean citizens (28.4%) and between 18 to 31 years old for the Colombian community (39%). Concerning to educational levels, self-medication habit was found mostly in patients who completed university studies in Cordoba (33%); in contrast to patients from Barranquilla, where those individuals with lower educational level practice more this behaviour (36.4%).
In both populations, patients commonly endeavour to treat conditions that require ophthalmologic care by self-medicating with over-the-counter eye drops. This behaviour occurs independently of gender. Education to maintain patients informed on the consequences of self-medication is required.
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