The Usage Pattern of Patients’ Drug Information Leaflet for Oral Non-Prescription Drugs Among University Students in the United Arab Emirates: Cross-Sectional Study

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Khalid A Al-Kubaisi
Abduelmula R Abduelkarem
Asim Ahmed Elnour
Israa Yousif El Khidir
Mohamed M Hassanein


Drug Information Leaflet (DIL), Non-prescription drug (NPD), Oral Non-Prescription Drug (ONPD), Risk factors, University student


Background: Very few extensive studies have measured the prevalence and usage pattern of drug information leaflet (DIL) for oral non-prescription drugs (ONPDs) or identified the associated risk factors for not reading DIL among university students in the UAE. Objective: The current study aimed to estimate the prevalence of the usage pattern of DIL for ONPDs, and delineate the associated risk factors for not reading the DIL among university students. Methods: A cross-sectional survey-based multistage sampling technique conducted among 2875 students at three major universities in UAE. The self-administered validated questionnaire was constructed and developed based on Andersen’s behavioral model. Binomial logistic regression performed to ascertain the effects of 25 potential predictors on the likelihood that participants not reading (discarded) the DIL after reading them. The primary outcome measure was reading (discarding without reading) the DIL, and the associated behaviours. Results: 2875 university students were eligible to participate in the study, but only 2519 students agreed to participate, indicating an 88% of intent participation. However, only 2,355 (81.9%) students completed the questionnaire. 1348 respondents reported using NPD (response rate 46.9%) during the past three months before conducting the study, which comprised the sample analysis (1307 were excluded). More than three-quarters of them read the DIL (always or often) at the first use (1049 of 1348, 77.8%). Approximately a quarter of those who read the DIL reported that they discarded them after reading (24.1%). The survey has identified four risk factors for not reading the DIL: those who get the drug information from physicians or pharmacists had lower odds of discarding the DIL (odds ration [OR] = 0.491, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.273-0.884, p value< 0.05). Medical students had lower odds of discarding the DIL (OR = 0.598, 95% CI: 0.412-0.868, p value< 0.05). Those participants who believe that NPDs are as effective as prescription drugs had lower odds of discarding the DIL (OR = 0.342, 95% CI: 0.123-0.948, p value< 0.05). Participants who use more than one NPD to treat a single symptom a day have higher odds of discarding the DIL (OR = 1.625, 95% CI: 1.122 -2.355, p value< 0.05). Conclusion: The prevalence of drug usage pattern in this population was 57.5% as 1348 subjects reported using NPD during the past 90 days before conducting the study. We have identified four risk factors for not reading the DIL, those who get the drug information from physicians or pharmacists, medical students, those respondents who believe that NPDs were as effective as prescription drugs, and respondents self-treating a single symptom with more than one NPD. It was evident from the findings that usage pattern of NPD for DIL varied among the students, with no specific pattern dominating.

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