Perwez Khanam* and Dana Haj-Ali
Background: Self-medication with antibiotics is a common phenomenon, especially in the developing world where infectious diseases are common causes of death and a major cause of resistance towards antibiotics. Nursing students are susceptible to self-medication on the account of handling and having access to different types of antibiotics in their future practices.
Objective: The aim of this study is to estimate the knowledge of antibiotics and prevalence of self-medication with antibiotics among third year nursing students of King Saud Bin Abdul Aziz University for health sciences, Al Ahsa, Saudi Arabia.
Methods: A questionnaire comprising of twenty five questions on the self-medication behaviors and the knowledge of antibiotics was distributed to a sample of 80 students. Data were statistically analyzed using SPSS version 21. Descriptive statistics including frequencies, percentages, means and standard deviations were computed. A P value of <0.05 was considered as statistically significant.
Results: Results indicate that among the participants 35.44% practiced self-medication using antibiotics. The most commonly used antibiotics were amoxicillin (68%), followed by erythromycin (28%). Regarding the source of antibiotics used, most students obtained their antibiotics from community pharmacies (60.7%), whereas 21.4% of them used leftover antibiotics from family and friends. Antibiotics were most commonly used for treatment of cold-flu, sore throat and fever (70.3%). The majority of students checked the instructions of use (93%).In terms of knowledge of antibiotics uses 82.3% of students were aware that antibiotics act on bacteria; however, more than 50% of them were not familiar with the term, antibiotic ‘resistance’.
Conclusion: The findings from this study highlight the prevalence of self-medication and usage of antibiotics among nursing students, the lack of some important knowledge and the risks associated with them.
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