Evaluation of the extent and reasons for increased non-prescription antibiotics use in a University town, Nsukka Nigeria
Objectives: The use of non-prescribed antibiotics has become a public health concern, and this behavior continues to thrive in many countries of the world including Nigeria. Evidence from previous studies suggests that increased antibiotic prescriptions and patients’ past experiences are some of the factors contributing to the use of non-prescribed antibiotics. The present investigation was aimed at determining the factors driving this behavior and the extent of usage among people living in a sub-urban Nigerian community.
Methods: A community-based, cross-sectional study was conducted in Nsukka, South-East Nigeria using a semi-structured and self-administered questionnaire. An estimated sample size of approximately 400 respondents, with ages ranging from 18 to 60 years participated in the study. A number of males were 233 and 197 were females.
Results: Demographics showed that the majority of respondents were well educated. The behavior appeared to be common regardless of gender, age, and educational level. Results showed that more than 86% of the respondents use non-prescribed antibiotics for treatment or prevention or both. A significant percentage uses it to treat cold and cough. The most frequently used antibiotics where the penicillins (58%) followed by quinolones (22%). Tetracycline, aminoglycosides, and cephalosporin represented 20.75%, 14.75%, and 11% usage, respectively.
Conclusion: This study revealed a substantial use of over-the-counter antibiotics, with this behavior cutting across gender, age and levels of education. However, participants’ knowledge and awareness of the hazards associated with this behavior were lacking.
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