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Original Research

Prevalence and pattern of antibiotics self-medication among medical students

Vidya K R, Sagar M K, Lohit K.

Background: Self-medication is the practice of intake of medicines to treat a self-diagnosed medical condition on their own or with help of a pharmacist, but without proper advice or prescription from a medical. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in response to the use of these medicines. Medical students though not having legal permit to prescribe medicines, but have an inevitable urge of self-medication practice for themselves and also for others as they are going through the professional course with gradual acquirement of knowledge.

Aims and Objectives: The aims of the study were as follows: (i) To estimate the prevalence of antibiotic self-medication among medical students and (ii) to assess the pattern of antibiotic self-medication.

Materials and Methods: This study was conducted for 8 months a tertiary care center in Tumkur, Karnataka. Ethical committee approval taken with prior permission from the institutional head. Data were collected from the consented medical student. Data were collected by face-to-face interaction using a validated questionnaire consisting of eight questions regarding perception, 24 questions regarding practice, and eight questions regarding pattern of antibiotic use in the previous 12 months.

Results: A total of 350 students were interviewed personally among which 191 (54.07%) were male and 159 (45.92%) were female. Mean age of the students was 20.4 years with a minimum of 18 and maximum of 22. Regarding awareness of self-medication of antibiotics, majority of the respondents (n = 273; 78%) had some knowledge about definition of self-medication. Three hundred and thirty-four reported (95.4%) that they had experienced at least one illness. Of them, 64.3% had common cold, 56.2% had headache, 34.3% had abdominal pain, 45% had sore throat, and 44.1% had fever. Some students had overlapping illness too. Prevalence of antibiotic self-medication was 44.5%. Major sources of information regarding selection of antibiotics were found to be previous doctor prescription.

Conclusion: Study concluded higher rate of prevalence of antibiotic self-medication. Without proper knowledge, there is uncontrolled misuse of antibiotics among students with medical background. With the emergence of antibiotic resistance and rampant misuse of antibiotic, there is an urgent need for educating students at the board level. India as a developing country, immediate precautionary measures has to be taken to prevent selling antibiotics by the pharmacy without any valid prescription.

Key words: Antibiotic; Self-Medication; Prevalence; Medical Students; Antibiotic Resistance

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