Antibiotic knowledge and self-medication practices in a developing country: A cross-sectional study

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Abstract

Background:

Self-medication is identified by the World Health Organization as a major factor leading to antibiotics overuse, misuse and resistance. This study's objectives were to evaluate the knowledge and self-medication with antibiotics in a sample of the population of Lebanon.

Methods:

This study surveyed a sample of adults (over 18 years of age) residing in 2 major cities in Lebanon about their knowledge and self-medication with antibiotics. Health care professionals were excluded from the study.

Results:

Four hundred questionnaires were completed. Of the responders, 72% were between 18 and 45 years of age with an overall 86% having completed at least high school. For their knowledge about antibiotics, 61% thought that antibiotics should be taken for common cold and 83% knew that misuse of antibiotics could result in microbial resistance. Self-medication significantly correlated with a lower educational level (P = .036). Those with lower knowledge about antibiotics stopped antibiotics at the inappropriate time (P = .002). Socioeconomic status, gender and age did not correlate with self-medication.

Conclusion:

Self-medication was associated with a person's educational level and knowledge of antibiotics. Awareness campaigns and enforcing medication dispensing laws are needed in to avoid self-medication with antibiotics.

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