Document Type : Research articles


1 Nursing Department, Guilan university of Medical Sciences, Rasht, Iran

2 Nursing Department, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

3 Pharmacy Department, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Iran


Background: Arbitrary drug use is considered as one of the major problems in all countries. Several studies indicate that selfmedication is more prevalent in women. In addition to the side-effects of drugs on women’s health, their health behavior can affect their families, as well. Qualitative research provides insight into participants’ internal world as well as the chance to specify and interpret the data and their experience at a deeper level.
Objectives: The present qualitative study aimed to explore women’s perception of OTC drugs.
Methods: The present study is a conventional qualitative content analysis conducted on women’s community in the Guilan province, the North of Iran. The study population was selected through purposive sampling, and the data were gathered through semi-structured interviews, which continued up to data saturation point. Data analysis was performed as per the stages recommended by Graneheim and Lundman. Research strength and its scientific accuracy were evaluated as per the criteria proposed by Guba and Lincoln.
Results: Data analysis identified three main themes and 9 subthemes as follows: “fragmented interaction in health system (poor relationship between patients and therapists, government’s poor economic support, inadequate supervision); “false self-confidence” (belief in the non-riskiness/efficiency of self-medication, self-esteem in understanding one’s health status, good memories of healing); “perceived personal stonewalling” (limitations in time, huge costs of treatment, and poor understanding of nuisances).
Conclusions: Participants’ experience highlighted the necessity of awareness about adverse side effects of OTC drug use; such awareness can be achieved through various methods such as information dissemination and proper culture of drug use promoted by healthcare professionals to resolve the mentioned issues and improve, consolidate, and promote society’s level of knowledge and health.