Antibiotic identification, use, and self-medication for respiratory illnesses among urban Latinos

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Purpose:The purpose of this study was to describe the extent to which antibiotic and nonantibiotic medications commonly used for upper respiratory infections (URIs) were correctly identified by a sample of urban dwelling Latinas and the association of medication identification with antibiotic use and self-medication.Data sources:One hundred women completed an interview and were asked to identify whether a list of 39 medications (17 antibiotics, 22 nonantibiotics) were antibiotics or not, whether anyone in the household had used the medication, their ages, and the source of the medication.Results:Overall, participants correctly identified 62% of nonantibiotics and 34% of antibiotics. Seventy three (73%) women in the study reported antibiotic use by at least one member of the household in the past year. Among users, self-medication was reported in 67.2% of antibiotics for adults, but in only 2.4% of children. There was no difference in antibiotic recognition between those who self-medicated and those who did not, but antibiotic self-medication was associated with a significantly lower recognition of nonantibiotics (p = .01).Implications for practice:Measures to improve antibiotic utilization should address self-medication and consider the cultural and social context in which antibiotic use occurs.

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