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Paper Title: Use of Drugs without Doctor’s Prescription among Pregnant Women Attending Antenatal Care Clinics in Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Authors: Kinikanwo Innocent Green, Clement Kevin Edet, Leesi Sapira-Ordu, Atochi Prince Woruka, Biteegeregha Godfrey Pepple, Anthony Ike Wegbom

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Background: Pregnancy is associated with the production of hormones and other chemical substances that change the physiology and biochemistry of the woman and can lead to the use of drugs with or without doctors’ prescriptions. This study, therefore, aimed to determine the pattern and prevalence of self-medication among pregnant women attending clinics at tertiary hospitals in Port Harcourt.

Methods: A facility-based cross-sectional study was conducted at two tertiary hospitals in Port Harcourt between January and February 2022, from which among 413 pregnant women were interviewed at the antenatal care (ANC) clinics. A descriptive analysis method was used to analyze the data.

Results: Among the 413 women interviewed 128 (31%) had used drugs without doctors’ prescription. The common drugs used were Paracetamol (50%), Antimalaria (31.3%), Antibiotics (16.4%), Cough and Cold drugs (13.3%) and Herbal products (11.7%). The reason for self-medication includes emergency illness, high cost at health facilities and distance to the facility. The common illness/symptoms that necessitated self-medication are body pain, headache, and fever.

Conclusion: Considerable proportion of the study sample used drugs without prescription. To improve on fetal and maternal health, we recommend enhanced healthcare accessibility and coverage, and awareness creation on the rational use of drugs by pregnant women. 

Keywords: Drugs, Doctor’s Prescription, Pregnant Women, Antenatal Care, Self-medication. 

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