Antibiotics for upper respiratory infections: public knowledge, beliefs and self-medication in the Republic of Macedonia

Ivanovska, Verica and Zdravkovska, Milka and Bosevska, Golubinka and Angelovska, Bistra (2013) Antibiotics for upper respiratory infections: public knowledge, beliefs and self-medication in the Republic of Macedonia. Contributions, Sec. Biol. Med. Sci., 34 (2). pp. 60-70. ISSN 0351–3254


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Self-medication as part of the irrational use of antibiotics contributes to the spread of antimicrobial resistance. The aim of this community-based survey in Macedonia was to determine public knowledge, beliefs and self-medication with antibiotics for upper respiratory infections. A crosssectional study was conducted in three administrative regions in Macedonia in April 2012. 402 eligible participants answered an anonymous questionnaire. The analysis of answers involved descriptive quantitative statistics (frequencies and percentages). We also tested for significant associations between demographic characteristics and non-prescription use of antibiotics. Our respondents demonstrated a relatively low level of public knowledge about antibiotics and upper respiratory infection treatments in comparison to the EU countries. The study found that 71.4% of participants stored antibiotics at home, and 43.3% purchased antibiotics over-the-counter in the last year, despite national regulation that restricts antibiotics as prescription-only medicines. Actual selfmedication with antibiotics for a recent upper respiratory infection episode was reported in 17.8% of adults and 1.8% of children aged 0–4 years. We did not find any significant association between participants’ demography and non-prescription use of antibiotics. Our results put in the group of eastern and southern EU countries with the highest rates for non-prescription use of antibiotics in Europe. Multifaceted interventions are needed to prevent self-medication with antibiotics, including: enforcement of regulations that restrict over-the-counter sales of antibiotics, monitoring of antibiotic use and antimicrobial resistance rates and combined public education strategies.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Medical and Health Sciences > Other medical sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Medical Science
Depositing User: Bistra Angelovska
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2014 11:37
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2014 13:15

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