Self-medication of antibiotics in Lebanon

Antimicrobial resistance is a major public health problem and has severe implications. There is a correlation between antibiotic misuse, self-medication with antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance. This is why the WHO describes self-medication with antibiotics as a dangerous behaviour.

In this recently published study ,  the authors aimed to assess self-medication with antibiotics in the general population of Beirut and its associated factors. Face-to-face interviews using structured questionnaires were conducted with people buying antibiotics from different pharmacies in the Beirut area.

The study showed that self-medication without prescription is a frequent problem in that area, with 42% of the population studied exhibiting this behaviour; it was more prominent in males and in people who do not regularly seek medical advice. The people buying antibiotics without prescription claimed to do so mostly to save time and money. Most of them were trying to treat sore throat symptoms and were affected by the ignorance of dangers of misuse. One of the main problems identified by the authors is that antibiotics are easy to acquire without prescription in Lebanon, even if there is a law to regulate their administration.

It is recommended to reinforce the existing law to prohibit over the counter selling of antibiotics. The authors suggest the implementation of an antibiotic educational program about the risks of misuse, as well as educational programs for pharmacists, in order to strengthen their role in advising patients about correct use of antibiotics.

What do you think? Is antibiotic self-medication a big problem where you live? What can be done about it?


This study was authored by Lina Cheaito, Sophie Azizi, Nadine Saleh, Pascale Salameh



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