Self-medication widespread among doctors

INAPPROPRIATE self-treatment appears to be “strongly embedded” in medical culture, with a systematic review finding only half of doctors have their own GP.

Self-prescribing was common among doctors and medical students in the 23 studies reviewed by researchers.

Ninety per cent of physicians in one Australian study believed it was acceptable to self-treat acute conditions, and other studies found evidence that many felt this was acceptable for chronic conditions as well. 

“Self-treatment is strongly embedded within the culture of both physicians and medical students as an accepted way to enhance/buffer work performance,” the reviewers said. 

“The authors believe that these complex self-directed care behaviours could be regarded as an occupational hazard for the medical profession.”

The culture was driven by a perceived need to avoid the role of patient, acceptance of self-treatment as