: Antibiotic resistance is a global threat. Scarce knowledge about safe and appropriate antibiotic use is coupled with frequent self-administration, e.g., in China. This repeated self-medication poses potential risk in terms of antibiotic resistance. Low-resource countries are facing an elevated burden of antibiotic self-medication as compared to developed ones. Thus, this study focused on evaluating the pervasiveness of antibiotic self-medication in 3 universities of Southern Punjab, Pakistan. Methods
: We conducted a descriptive cross-sectional survey in three government sector universities of Southern Punjab, Pakistan. The study was carried out with self-administered paper-based questionnaires. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 18.0 (IBM, Chicago, IL, USA). Results
: Seven hundred twenty-seven students out of 750 (response rate 97%) with a mean age ± SD of 23.0 ± 3.4 years agreed to participate in the study. The proportion of females was slightly greater (52%) compared with males (48%), and almost one-third of the respondents (36%) were in their 2nd year of university. Out of the total, 58.3% practiced self-medication in the preceding six months, and 326 (45%) confirmed the use of antibiotics. Metronidazole was the most frequently self-medicated antibiotic (48%). Out of the total, 72% demonstrated awareness regarding the side effects of antibiotics. Diarrhea was the well-known adverse effect (38%). Forty-three percent affirmed having antibiotic resistance knowledge, and 30% knew that the irregular use of antibiotics would lead to increased antibiotic resistance. Conclusion
: Despite having ample awareness of the adverse antibiotic reactions, self-medication among the university students was high and antibiotic resistance was a fairly unknown term.
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