Exploring Antibiotic Self Medication Patterns: A Cross-Sectional Study among Patients in Multiple Hospitals


  • Dr Aswad Shahid
  • Dr Mahrukh Nazeer
  • Dr Aqdas Adeel Khan
  • Dr Ghulam Murtaza
  • Dr Ali Hamza
  • Dr Hafiza Rakhshan Urooj
  • Dr Muhammad Usama


Abstract views: 99
PDF downloads: 38


Antibiotic Self-Medication, Healthcare Behavior, Patient Practices, Cross-Sectional Analysis, Prescription Misuse


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore the multifaceted impact of self-medication with antibiotics, delving into its implications for public health. The potential repercussions of self-medication extend beyond individual well-being. This study investigates the broader consequences, including the wastage of crucial healthcare resources, the development of antibiotic resistance, adverse reactions, delays in seeking appropriate medical care, and the exacerbation of common illnesses. By understanding the complexities surrounding self-medication, particularly with antibiotics, we aim to contribute valuable insights to inform public health strategies, medical interventions, and educational campaigns.

The research seeks to identify patterns, motivations, and behaviors associated with self-medication, shedding light on the factors that drive individuals to bypass professional medical advice. With a focus on antibiotics, a class of drugs critical for treating bacterial infections, the study aims to highlight the potential risks and challenges posed by unsupervised antibiotic use.

Methodology: This cross-sectional study, conducted from September 13 to September 25, 2022, investigates self-medication with antibiotics among 300 patients from five hospitals. Employing a confidential 20-question questionnaire administered through face-to-face interviews, the research aims to understand prevalence and patterns of self-medication. Quantitative data analysis utilizes parametric Z-tests through SPSS Software (version 21). Ethical considerations include obtaining approval, ensuring informed consent, and maintaining confidentiality. Limitations include potential selection and recall bias associated with convenience sampling and self-reported data, respectively.

Findings: Among the 300 participants, 47% were male, and 53% were female. The majority were adults aged between 20 to 40 years, with 64% from Rawalpindi. Over 50% of participants had matriculation or higher education. Ninety-seven percent of people had used antibiotics at least once in their life, with 63% practicing self-medication. Notably, 49% self-medicated 1-5 times in the past year. The primary reasons for self-medication included convenience (47%), personal experience (34%), and previous doctor's prescriptions (32%). Only 36% completed the prescribed antibiotic course. A significant percentage (71%) never changed the dosage of antibiotics, while 22% sometimes altered the dosage. Switching antibiotics during the course occurred in 21% of cases, primarily because the initial treatment was ineffective. Additionally, 51% of participants believed they could successfully treat common infections with antibiotics. Most participants (63%) stopped taking antibiotics if they experienced side effects during the course. A majority (62%) did not complete the antibiotic course after early symptom relief. Regarding dosage, 74% of participants believed that larger antibiotic doses did not guarantee quicker action. Furthermore, 36% of participants occasionally gave prescribed antibiotics to sick family members, and 10% always did.

Unique Contribution to Theory, Policy and Practice: This research significantly advances our understanding of antibiotic self-medication across theoretical, policy, and practical dimensions. The study intricately explores the prevalence and nuanced patterns characterizing patients' self-medication behaviors with antibiotics, thereby contributing to the refinement of existing theoretical frameworks in healthcare behavior. The comprehensive insights gained from this research provide a foundation for a more sophisticated understanding of the intricate interplay of factors influencing patients' decisions regarding antibiotic use. This understanding enables the formulation of targeted policies aimed at mitigating the potential risks associated with unsupervised antibiotic use, contributing to broader public health initiatives combating antibiotic resistance and ensuring the well-being of communities.


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How to Cite

Shahid, A., Nazeer, M., Khan, A. A., Murtaza, G., Hamza, A., Urooj, H. R., & Usama, M. (2024). Exploring Antibiotic Self Medication Patterns: A Cross-Sectional Study among Patients in Multiple Hospitals. International Journal of Health, Medicine and Nursing Practice, 6(3), 19–31. https://doi.org/10.47941/ijhmnp.1729