Document Type : Original Article


Department of Pathology, School of Medical Sciences and Research, Sharda University, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India


BACKGROUND: Many countries are implementing measures for social distancing to contain the
spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‑19) pandemic. The Indian government also issued
an order for complete lockdown of the country, with all the nonessential services, including most of
the services for nonemergency health issues, being temporarily suspended.
OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to understand the effect of pandemic lockdown on medical
advice‑seeking behavior and the medication practices of the non‑COVID Indian patients
confined to homes, who would have normally visited the outpatient departments (OPDs) for medical
MATERIALS AND METHODS: It was a questionnaire‑based, cross‑sectional study conducted online
during the lockdown period. The questions dealt with medical advice‑related practices, self‑medication,
the sources of medical advice, and the need to visit emergency department. Evaluation of data was
done as for descriptive studies.
RESULTS: A total of 106 people (34%) out of the 312 participants had either old or new health
problems. Ninety‑six of such people (90.5%) tried to manage their sufferings by either continuing
the drugs prescribed earlier or by making phone calls to doctors along with taking the help of home
remedies, if needed. Ten (9.5%) of the symptomatic participants did not consult any doctor waiting
for natural course of relief. None of the participants practiced self‑medication of modern medicine
therapy. Only one participant (of the total 312) took hydroxychloroquine as self‑medication for assumed
prophylactic therapy against the COVID‑19 infection.
CONCLUSION: Most of the people with medical conditions, confined at home due to national
lockdown, are coping with their problems without any irrational self‑medication with modern medicines
or any misuse of prophylactic therapy against the COVID infection. This seemingly positive trend may
also have been due to the strict enforcement of the lockdown rules by the law enforcement agencies.


1. Munster VJ, Koopmans M, van Doremalen N, vanRiel D, deWit E.
A novel coronavirus emerging in China – Key questions for impact
assessment. N Engl J Med 2020;382:692-94.
2. Cucinotta D, Vanelli M. WHO declares COVID-19 a pandemic.
Acta Biomed 2020;91:157-160.
3. MHA Issues Consolidated Revised Guidelines for the Containment
of COVID-19 epidemic in the Country. Available from: https:// [Last
accessed on 2020 Apr 20].
4. Health in India. Available from:
default/files/publication_reports/nss_rep574.pdf. [Last accessed
on 2020 Apr 20].
5. India Population. Available from: https://www.worldometers.
info/world-population/india-population/. [Last accessed on
2020 Apr 20].
6. Bennadi D. Self-medication: A  current challenge. J  Basic Clin
Pharm 2013;5:19-23.
7. Simon AK, Rao A, Rajesh G, Shenoy R, Pai MB. Trends in selfmedication for dental conditions among patients attending oral
health outreach programs in coastal Karnataka, India. Indian J
Pharmacol 2015;47:524-9.
8. Guidelines on the Measures to be Taken by Ministries/
Departments of Government of India, State/Union Territory
Governments and State/Union Territory Authorities for
containment of COVID-19 Epidemic in the Country. Available
pdf. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 20].
9. Singh AK, Singh A, Shaikh A, Singh R, Misra A. Chloroquine
and hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of COVID-19 with or
without diabetes: A  systematic search and a narrative review
with a special reference to India and other developing countries.
Diabetes Metab Syndr 2020;14:241-6. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr
10. Advisory on the use of Hydroxy-Chloroquine as
Prophylaxis for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Available from:
Hydroxychloroquinasprophylaxisfor SARSCoV2infection.
pdf. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 24].
11. Sudden Hydroxy-Choloroquine Shortage is Forcing Indian
Doctors to make tough Choices. Available from: https://www.  [Last accessed on
2020 Apr 24].
12. KretchyIA, Asiedu-DansoM, Kretchy JP. Medication management
and adherence during the COVID-19 pandemic: Perspectives and
experiences from low-and middle-income countries. Res Social
Adm Pharm 2020. pii: S1551-7411(20)30332-6.
13. Kripalani S, Yao X, Haynes RB. Interventions to enhance
medication adherence in chronic medical conditions: A systematic
review. Arch Intern Med 2007;167:540‑9.