Help-seeking behavior and self-medication of a population in an urban area in Turkey: Cross sectional study

HAYRAN O. E., KARAVUŞ M., Aksayan S.

Croatian Medical Journal, vol.41, no.3, pp.327-332, 2000 (Scopus) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 41 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2000
  • Journal Name: Croatian Medical Journal
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.327-332
  • Keywords: Drug, Helping behavior, Life style, Medically underserved area, Medicine, Prescriptions, Public health, Social behavior, Traditional, Turkey
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: No


Aim. To define help-seeking behavior and self-medication among people with different symptoms and complaints in an industrialized urban area of Turkey. Methods. This cross-sectional study was carried out in the city center of Kocaeli province, Western Turkey, in October-November 1998. To research help-seeking behavior in respect of secondary prevention and curative practices, we randomly selected households (N=812), interviewed the household members at their home, and recorded the reasons for visiting a pharmacy in 6 pharmacies (N= 1,331 visits to pharmacy) in the Kocaeli region. Results. The majority of the interviewed knew the meaning and importance of regular medical checkups, and only 7% had never underwent periodic checkups, mainly because of lack of interest or time. Self-medication was found to be the dominant mode of help-seeking behavior, especially in the case of pain. The proportion of unprescribed to prescribed drugs was 1:1.75, with analgetics, antipyretics, expectorants and antitussives as the most commonly requested unprescribed drugs. Conclusion. A considerable amount of health care occured within the popular sector, with self-medication and pharmacist's advice as dominant modes of behavior, The health care system should take this in account when planning activities aimed at detection of disease.