gms | German Medical Science

13. Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie

Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie

02.11. bis 03.11.2006, Berlin

Health beliefs and self-medication

Meeting Abstract

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  • corresponding author C. Häußinger - Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, TU Dresden
  • U. Ruh - Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, TU Dresden
  • W. Kirch - Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, TU Dresden
  • I. Hach - Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, TU Dresden

Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelanwendungsforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie e.V. (GAA). 13. Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie. Berlin, 02.-03.11.2006. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2006. Doc06gaa08

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Veröffentlicht: 30. Oktober 2006

© 2006 Häußinger et al.
Dieser Artikel ist ein Open Access-Artikel und steht unter den Creative Commons Lizenzbedingungen ( Er darf vervielfältigt, verbreitet und öffentlich zugänglich gemacht werden, vorausgesetzt dass Autor und Quelle genannt werden.



Context: Self-medication plays an important role in the treatment of diseases. Studies all over the world show that 60%-85% of patients use over-the-counter (OTC) medication as the first therapy for medical complaints. It is unknown if individual health beliefs influence the use of OTC drugs.

Aim of the study: This study examines the health beliefs of pharmacy customers and their impact on OTC-use.

Material and methods: We have been designed a standardized questionnaire that contains 68 items to health beliefs, habits of OTC-use, decision criteria for drugs, and information about the sociodemographic background. The questionnaire was sent to a randomized sample of 58 regional pharmacies in Saxony. 123 customers were included.

Results: We found significant associations between health beliefs and self-medication. Taking OTC-drugs was positive correlated with imputable attributions to complaints (r=0.239*), a preventive lifestyle (r=0.360*), and a higher self-responsibility for the own body (r=0.235*). Especially for complementary OTC-drugs, significant positive correlations were found for a holistic body understanding (r=0.242*), the preference of alternative treatment strategies (r=0.563*) and prevention (r=0.345*). In contrast to these results, OTC-customer who used conventional medicine, did not prefer alternative therapies (r=-0.472*) and did not show a preventive lifestyle (r=-0.242*). Sociodemographic variables had no influence on self-medication.

Conclusion: Health beliefs - in terms of general attitude towards health and illness, illness attributions, prevention, and attitude towards treatment strategies – influence first of all the kind of remedy (conventional vs. complementary). Health beliefs and treatment beliefs, respectively, may have important implications for discussions about more efficient consultations in pharmacies. Furthermore, health beliefs could be indicators for possible placebo-responders.