Self-medication with antibiotics in rural population in Greece: a cross-sectional multicenter study
3rd Department of Internal Medicine and Center of Diabetes, General Hospital of Nikaia "Ag. Panteleimon" - Piraeus, Greece, 3 D.Mantouvalou Street, GR-184 54 Nikaia, Greece
BMC Family Practice 2010, 11:58 doi:10.1186/1471-2296-11-58Published: 8 August 2010
Self-medication is an important driver of antimicrobial overuse as well as a worldwide problem. The aim of the present study was to estimate the use of antibiotics, without medical prescription, in a sample of rural population presenting in primary care in southern Greece.
The study included data from 1,139 randomly selected adults (545 men/594 women, mean age ± SD: 56.2 ± 19.8 years), who visited the 6 rural Health Centres of southern Greece, between November 2009 and January 2010. The eligible participants were sought out on a one-to-one basis and asked to answer an anonymous questionnaire.
Use of antibiotics within the past 12 months was reported by 888 participants (77.9%). 508 individuals (44.6%) reported that they had received antibiotics without medical prescription at least one time. The major source of self-medication was the pharmacy without prescription (76.2%). The antibiotics most frequently used for self-medication were amoxicillin (18.3%), amoxicillin/clavulanic acid (15.4%), cefaclor (9.7%), cefuroxim (7.9%), cefprozil (4.7%) and ciprofloxacin (2.3%). Fever (41.2%), common cold (32.0%) and sore throat (20.6%) were the most frequent indications for the use of self-medicated antibiotics.
In Greece, despite the open and rapid access to primary care services, it appears that a high proportion of rural adult population use antibiotics without medical prescription preferably for fever and common cold.