Background: Self-treatment with antibiotics involves obtaining medicines without a prescription,
sharing medicines with members of one’s social circle, or using leftover medicines
stored at home.
Objective: Assess the prevalence, knowledge level, reasons for practicing self-treatment of antibiotic
among undergraduate university students.
Methods: The study was conducted cross-sectional on a sample of 201 students. A pre-validated
questionnaire called “self-treatment with antibiotics”, containing 27 close-ended questions, was administered
to each subject. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 16 and the results were expressed
as counts and percentages.
Results and Discussion: Knowledge about self-treatment with antibiotics was good in general, and
health-related students had a better level of knowledge about self-treatment with antibiotics than
non-health-related students. The majority of the participants had not used self-treatment with antibiotics.
Gender, age, and the last time antibiotic taken affected self-treatment with antibiotics. The
most common indication for self-treatment with antibiotics was flu, cold, and tonsillitis. The most
common reason for practicing self-treatment with antibiotics was being considered as a convenient
and rapid solution. Internet was the main source for university students regarding knowledge about
antibiotic use and resistance.
Conclusion: Self-treatment with antibiotics is affected by several social and demographic variables,
and the role of media, public policies, university curricula as well as physicians and pharmacists
should be enforced and activated to eliminate inappropriate uses of antibiotics and to correct
misconceptions that encourage self-treatment with antibiotics.