Self-medication behavior with antibiotics: a national cross-sectional survey in Sri Lanka

Shukry Zawahir*, Sarath Lekamwasam, Kjell H. Halvorsen, Grenville Rose, Parisa Aslani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Antibiotic self-medication is common in low- and middle-income countries. This study aimed to evaluate the Sri Lankan public's knowledge about and attitudes toward antibiotic use and self-medication, and factors associated with self-medication.

METHODS: A national cross-sectional, interviewer-administered, survey of a random household sample (N = 1100) was conducted. Factor analysis of the attitudinal items was conducted to investigate the factors associated with antibiotic self-medication.

RESULTS: A response rate of ninety-one percent (n = 998) responded. Knowledge about antibiotics was poor (mean = 12.5; SD = 3.5; (scale 0-27)). Half had previously used an antibiotic once in the past three months. About 11% (108/998) had self-medicated the last time they took antibiotics; mostly obtained from a pharmacy (82%; 89/108). Three attitudinal factors were obtained, explaining 56.1% of the variance. Respondents were less likely to self-medicate if they did not support ease of access to antibiotics from pharmacies ( p< 0.001) and situational use of antibiotics ( p= 0.001); supported appropriate use of antibiotics ( p= 0.003); and had greater knowledge about prescription requirements for antibiotics ( p= 0.004).

CONCLUSION: There is limited knowledge about, and a high rate of self-medication with antibiotics.Factors contributing to self-medication could be addressed with appropriate public education campaigns, and policy changes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1341-1351
Number of pages11
JournalExpert Review of Anti-Infective Therapy
Volume19
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • antibiotic resistance
  • antibiotics
  • attitudes
  • general public
  • knowledge
  • quantitative study
  • self-medication
  • Sri Lanka
  • survey

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