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Sous presse. Epreuves corrigées par l'auteur. Disponible en ligne depuis le samedi 21 mars 2020
Doi : 10.1016/j.therap.2020.02.019
Received : 9 October 2019 ;  accepted : 14 February 2020
Self-medication practices and their characteristics among French university students

Marion Gras a, Valérie Champel a, b, Kamel Masmoudi a, Sophie Liabeuf a, b,
a Clinical pharmacology department, regional pharmacogivilance centre, Amiens-Picardie university hospital, 80054 Amiens, France 
b MP3CV Laboratory, EA7517, university of Picardie Jules Verne, 80000 Amiens, France 

Corresponding author. Service de pharmacologie, CHU d’Amiens-Picardie, avenue R. Laennec, 80000 Amiens, France.Service de pharmacologie, CHU d’Amiens-Picardieavenue R. LaennecAmiens80000France

Inappropriate self-medication can have major impacts on health. The aim of the study was to describe the prevalence and characteristics of self-medication behaviours among undergraduate and postgraduate students from various academic sectors. We also sought to identify determinants of inappropriate self-medication.


We performed a descriptive, cross-sectional study based on a self-questionnaire filled out by students from various academic sectors at the University of Picardy (Amiens, France). The survey comprised four sections: sociodemographic characteristics, health status, self-medication behaviour (including the names of medications taken), and knowledge about medications and the risks associated with self-medication. Inappropriate self-medication was defined as the reported administration of a prescription-only medication without a current prescription.


A total of 1257 students (715 from the health sector and 542 from other sectors; 983 [78.2%] women) completed the survey. In all, 1194 (95%) students reported self-medication. The most reported reason for self-medication was a supposed good knowledge of medications. The most frequently administered drug classes were analgesics (n =736, 46.7%), and anti-inflammatories/antirheumatics (n =299, 19%). In all, 51.7% (n =617) of the self-medicating students used a medicine from an old prescription including prescription-only drugs (mostly analgesics, antibiotics, and anxiolytics). Female sex, studying for a healthcare degree, having a chronic disease, smoking, having a healthcare professional in the family, and stress were all independently associated with inappropriate self-medication behaviours.


Our results showed that self-medication in general and the use of old prescription-only medications in particular are frequent among French university students. At-risk situations identification might facilitate the implementation of educational actions.

The full text of this article is available in PDF format.

Keywords : Self-medication, Student, Prescription medication, Health care, Stress

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