Knowledge, attitude, behaviour of the future healthcare professionals towards the self-medication practice with antibiotics
Introduction: Self-medication with antibiotics (SMA) is a major health problem in the developing world including the kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). This practice remains an emerging challenge for the healthcare providers. A few previous studies have estimated the prevalence of SMA among the general population of KSA, but there had been no such studies on healthcare students.
We aimed to estimate the prevalence of SMA among medical, non-medical students and to evaluate its determinants.
Methodology: A survey-based cross-sectional study using validated questionnaire was conducted amongst students at King Faisal University in KSA. Chi-square test and logistic regression analysis were applied to identify the determinants of SMA.
Results: The prevalence of SMA was 58.4% with significantly lower proportion among medical students. Tonsillitis was the most common symptom for which SMA was used and was reported by a significantly higher proportion of medical (54.1%) students. Despite, the awareness of medical students about SMA is unsafe and mal-practice (79.9%), the prevalence of SMA practice remains high. Logistic regression analysis showed that students who incorrectly, identified the effectiveness of antibiotics in treating bacterial infections, the reasons of the antibiotics discontinuation had a higher likelihood to SMA. (OR = 2.16, 95% CI: 1.52-4.503, P = 0.001), (OR = 1.575, 95% CI: 0.923-2.686, P = 0.09), respectively.
Conclusions: SMA remains noticeably high among the medical students. To overcome this problem, we highly recommend improving the health education to better address this malpractice and improve the students’ knowledge, attitudes and awareness towards the antibiotics use and prescription pattern.
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