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 Table of Contents  
LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 62

Self-Medication in peru during the COVID-19 pandemic: How harmless it could be?


1 Sociedad Científica de Estudiantes de Medicina de la Universidad Nacional de Trujillo, Trujillo; Grupo Peruano de Investigación Epidemiológica, Unidad de Investigación para la Generación y Síntesis de Evidencias en Salud, Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola, Lima, Peru
2 Universidad Privada Antenor Orrego, Trujillo, Peru
3 Universidad Nacional Pedro Ruiz Gallo, Lambayeque, Peru
4 Universidad Científica del Sur, Lima, Peru
5 Unidad de Investigación para la Generación y Síntesis de Evidencias en Salud, Vicerrectorado de Investigación, Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola, Lima, Peru

Date of Submission24-Jun-2020
Date of Acceptance02-Sep-2020
Date of Web Publication08-Apr-2022

Correspondence Address:
Vicente A Benites-Zapata
Vicerrectorado de Investigación, Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola, Campus 2, avenida La Fontana 750, La Molina, Lima
Peru
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijpvm.IJPVM_359_20

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How to cite this article:
Benites-Meza JK, Mejia-Bustamante A, Monzon-Monge D, Urrunaga-Pastor D, Benites-Zapata VA. Self-Medication in peru during the COVID-19 pandemic: How harmless it could be?. Int J Prev Med 2022;13:62

How to cite this URL:
Benites-Meza JK, Mejia-Bustamante A, Monzon-Monge D, Urrunaga-Pastor D, Benites-Zapata VA. Self-Medication in peru during the COVID-19 pandemic: How harmless it could be?. Int J Prev Med [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 May 25];13:62. Available from: https://www.ijpvmjournal.net/text.asp?2022/13/1/62/342758



Dear Editor,

Self-medication is a public health problem; this practice has been increasing during the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic.[1] This practice may be responsible if the over-the-counter medication used is safe and does not cause major adverse effects. However, the most frequent practice in Peru is irresponsible self-medication, which is characterized by the use of medications that require a medical prescription, due to the complexity of their use.[2] In Peru, approximately 3 out of 4 people self-medicate and 1 out of 2 does it irresponsible.[3] This could be due to several factors, including those associated with the health system and the lack of health insurance. Likewise, it is worth noting the influence of pharmacy staff and the media,[3] who promote misinformation and self-medication in Peru.[4]

In the current context, the practice of irresponsible self-medication has increased, by the use of drugs indicated for COVID-19 therapy, which have reported adverse effects and severe drug interactions.[5] Among the drugs whose demand has increased due to COVID-19 pandemic in Peru, Hydroxychloroquine, Azithromycin, Warfarin, Ivermectin, Prednisone, and Aspirin stand out, as they are easy to acquire and orally administered.[6] These drugs have even been described as a prophylactic treatment, as well as in mild or asymptomatic cases of COVID-19.[5] Therefore, we evaluated the drug interactions and adverse effects when using these drugs together, using the medical tool Lexicomp from the Uptodate software.[7] [Table 1] shows the main adverse effects reported, being the most relevant the prolongation of the QTc interval, the increase in international normalized ratio (INR) and bleeding.
Table 1: Drug interaction effects in COVID-19 treatments

Click here to view


It is necessary to take measures to reduce self-medication in the Peruvian population since it could generate an increase in medical attention due to the occurrence of adverse effects. Also, complications due to lack of usual medicines could occur in chronic patients using these drugs. On the other hand, there could be an increase of COVID-19 cases due to unnecessary exposure to the hospital environment of people who require medical attention for the consumption of these drugs. Interventions to fight this irresponsible practice should be implemented as a joint effort between the Ministry of Education and Health, promoting public and collective health.

The government should promote interventions using the media; by sending text messages, radio and television campaigns, reporting the risks of irresponsible self-medication, in the same way as they have been used in chronic diseases.[8] Furthermore, the information provided by the media should be controlled to avoid promoting irresponsible self-medication and unproven therapies to treat COVID-19.[4] It is necessary to increase the control of informal sale of these drugs, as well as to improve the regulation of pharmacies and drugstores that sell non-over the counter medicines without medical prescription. Irresponsible self-medication could generate severe consequences in Peru and must be a public health priority.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Onchonga D. A Google trends study on the interest in self-medication during the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) disease pandemic. Saudi Pharm J 2020;28:903-4.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Ruiz ME. Risks of self-medication practices. Curr Drug Safety 2010;5:315-23.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Urrunaga-Pastor D, Benites-Zapata VA, Mezones-Holguín E. Factors associated with self-medication in users of drugstores and pharmacies in Peru: An analysis of the National Survey on User Satisfaction of Health Services, ENSUSALUD 2015. F1000Res 2019;8:23.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Alvarez-Risco A, Mejia CR, Delgado-Zegarra J, Del-Aguila-Arcentales S, Arce-Esquivel AA, Valladares-Garrido MJ, et al. The Peru approach against the COVID-19 Infodemic: Insights and Strategies. Am J Trop Med Hyg 2020;103:583-6.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Hernandez AV, Roman YM, Pasupuleti V, Barboza JJ, White CM. Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for treatment or prophylaxis of COVID-19: A living systematic review. Ann Inter Med 2020;173:287-96.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Martinez-Rivera RN, Taype-Rondan A. Overmedication in COVID-19 context: A report from Peru. J Clin Pharmacol 2020. doi: 10.1002/jcph. 1704.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Lexicomp Online, Lexi-Drugs Online, Hudson, Ohio: UpToDate, Inc.; 2020;-05-30, 2020.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Mbuagbaw L, Mursleen S, Lytvyn L, Smieja M, Dolovich L, Thabane L. Mobile phone text messaging interventions for HIV and other chronic diseases: An overview of systematic reviews and framework for evidence transfer. BMC Health Serv Res 2015;15:33.  Back to cited text no. 8
    



 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 1]



 

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