Background Older adults are a particularly vulnerable group to drug use and self-medication. The aim of the study was to evaluate self-medication as a factor associated with the purchase of brand-name and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs in older adults in Peru. Methods A secondary analysis was performed using an analytical cross-sectional design of data from a nationally representative survey from 2014 to 2016. The exposure variable was self-medication, defined as the purchase of medicines without a prescription. The dependent variables were purchases of brand-name and OTC drugs, both as a dichotomous response (yes/no). Information of sociodemographic variables, health insurance, and the types of drugs purchased by the participants was collected. Crude prevalence ratios (PR) were calculated and adjusted using generalized linear models of the Poisson family, considering the complex sample of the survey. Results In this study, 1,115 respondents were evaluated, with a mean age of 63.8 years and a male proportion of 48.2%. The prevalence of self-medication was 66.6%, while the proportions of purchases of brand-name and OTC drugs were 62.4% and 23.6%, respectively. The adjusted Poisson regression analysis revealed an association between self-medication and the purchase of brand-name drugs (adjusted PR [aPR]=1.09; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.01–1.19). Likewise, self-medication was associated with the purchase of OTC medications (aPR=1.97; 95%CI: 1.55–2.51). Conclusions This study evidenced a high prevalence of self-medication in Peruvian older adults. Two-thirds of the surveyed people bought brand-name drugs, whereas one-quarter bought OTC drugs. Self-medication was associated with a greater likelihood of buying brand-name and OTC drugs.
- health of the elderly
- nonprescription drugs