The self-medication of minors can have negative consequences, and research on the topic indicates that particular groups of children are especially likely to be exposed to it. For example, Santos et al. focused on a sample of 1382 children from some poor areas of Brazil. Roughly half of them had received medication within the 15 days before the study, but only 40% of that number received prescribed medications (2034). Mostly, drugs like analgesics or medications meant to treat coughing or cold were used. Younger children were most often subjected to the experience, but the study included only children aged 4-11 and focused on parent-administered medication. These findings can be used to suggest that poorer children of particular ages may be especially likely to be self-treated by their parents.
Shehnaz et al. studied older children and adolescents from the United Arab Emirates aged between 14 and 19 (1-2). The total sample included 324 expatriates, and they had an 89.9% and 88.8% self-medication prevalence rate that was calculated separately for female and male students (Shehnaz et al. 2). The authors noted that less than 70% of the participants had access to health insurance and that over half of them preferred private clinics. Lower utilization of public health services was confirmed to correlate with increased self-medication rates.
Nayyar and Tavargeri enrolled the parents of children under 14 in a study with a final sample of 400 people (65685). The authors focused on dental self-medication, and they found that there were significant correlations between certain characteristics of a child and such practices. Female children were found to be more likely to be subjected to the experience in this study. This finding contradicts the results of the article by Santos et al. in which gender was not shown to have an impact (2037). Nayyar and Tavargeri also discovered that socioeconomic status could be significant with poorer people being more prone to self-medication (65686). Regarding the age, few parents self-treated very young children, but children aged 4-8 were most likely to have the experience. The most common reason for self-medication in this study was pain. To summarize, the three articles suggest that children with particular characteristics, especially those related to poverty and insufficient health coverage, are more likely to engage or be engaged in self-medication by their legal guardians.
Nayyar, Amrita, and Anand K. Tavargeri. “Self-Medication Practices by Parents in Children for Dental Conditions.” International Journal of Current Research, vol. 10, no. 2, 2018, pp. 65684-65688.
Santos, Djanilson Barbosa dos, et al. “Use of Prescribed and Non-Prescribed Medications among Children Living in Poor Areas in the city of Salvador, Bahia State, Brazil.” Cadernos de saude publica, vol. 27, no. 10, 2011, pp. 2032-2040.
Shehnaz, Syed Ilyas, et al. “Factors Associated with Self-Medication among Expatriate High School Students: A Cross-Sectional Survey in United Arab Emirates.” Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Public Health, vol. 10, no. 4, 2013, pp. 1-6.