Karolina Dubickaitė, Ieva Merkytė, Eglė Pavydė, Audrius Sveikata
Irrational use of antibiotics for upper respiratory tract infections and self-medication are serious public health problems. Previous studies performed in Lithuania in order to evaluate public knowledge of antibiotics are rare. The aim of this study was to assess antibiotic usage patterns, public knowledge, behaviour and self-medication among Lithuanian public. The perspective cross-sectional study was performed using original anonymous questionnaire consisting of 20 questions. Descriptive and comparative statistical data analysis was processed with SPSS 17.0. Results were considered statistically significant as p<0.05. Even though antibiotics are commonly used medicinal products, public knowledge of antibiotics is insufficient. Over a quarter of respondents (27.2%) believed that antibiotics are effective against viral infections, half of respondents stated that antibiotics are equally effective against bacterial and viral infections. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that poor knowledge of antibiotics was associated with frequent use of these medicinal products (p=0.005; OR=2.959; 95% CI 1.389-6.307) and higher risk of self-medication with antibiotics (p=0,024; OR=1.816; 95% CI 1.082-3.046). The prevalence of self-medication was about 38.0%. Self-medication rate may be influenced by the fact that there is still a possibility to obtain antibiotics without prescription. Physicians and pharmacists should spend more time consulting patients about rational use of antibiotics while prescribing or dispensing these medications.
Keyword(s): antibiotics; public knowledge; irrational antibiotic use; self-medication.
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