The use of nonprescription medications is increasing worldwide as the practice of self-medication becomes more common. This is a cross-sectional study which was conducted to determine the extent and types of nonprescription medications used in the Klang Valley. Data was collected via interview using a structured questionnaire, at 10 shopping complexes and high streets in the Klang Valley. A total of 400 respondents were recruited with 61.5% female. The mean age of the respondents (standard deviation) was 33.4 (11.8) years old. Of the 400 respondents, 298 (74.5%) had used a nonprescription medication before. Demographic data of the respondents was not associated with the use of nonprescription medications except for marital status. Respondents who were single were more likely to use nonprescription medications than married or widowed/divorced respondents (p = 0.040). Analgesics were the most commonly used nonprescription medications in the Klang Valley (35.9%), followed by cough (17.2%) and cold preparations (11.7%). Whereas, paracetamol was the active ingredient most commonly found in the nonprescription medications used (47.2%). Out of the 298 respondents who have used nonprescription medications before, 234 (78.5%) obtained their medication(s) from pharmacies while 21.5% from non-pharmacy outlets such as doctors’ clinics, grocery shops, Chinese medical halls, supermarkets, 7-Eleven convenient stores and medical centres. The common sources of information on nonprescription medications were pharmacists (48%), family members or friends (18.8%) and doctors (16.8%). Therefore, pharmacists have a significant role to play in the selection and safe use of nonprescription medications.
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