Antibiotic Use Awareness and Practices in the Indian Community During Later Stages of COVID-19 Pandemic: A Cross-Sectional Survey

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.5195/ijms.2024.1885

Keywords:

Drug Resistance, Microbial, Antimicrobial stewardship, Health knowledge, Attitudes, Practices, COVID 19, Antibiotic Use, Awareness, Indian Community, Antibiotic Resistance, Overuse, Self-Medication, Azithromycin, Regulations, Healthcare Professionals, Public Health, Infection, Stewardship Programs, Rational Use

Abstract

Background: An increased overuse of antibiotics coupled with dearth of newer alternatives has worsened antibiotic resistance in LMIC’s like India. The prescription of antibiotics for symptoms similar to COVID-19 infection has aggravated the problem of antibiotic overuse, further worsening antibiotic resistance. This study aims at understanding not only the extent of overuse, but also the social patterns and causes of over-prescription or self medication of antibiotics in India.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey of the knowledge, attitude and practices on antibiotic use was conducted from September to October, 2022, using a Google form questionnaire. A virtual snowball technique was used to recruit respondents.

Results: A total of 309 responses were received (56% female and 44% male). 59.5% of the respondents were between 15 to 30 years. Surprisingly, in spite of a majority of respondents (around 70%) having a health sciences background, 67.8% of respondents falsely believe that antibiotics speed up recovery from most coughs and colds. 94.8% of respondents had used antibiotics in the last one year. 17.2% of respondents had taken antibiotics without the prescription of a doctor. The most common antibiotic used on prescription and self-medication was Azithromycin. Only 20.7% of respondents took antibiotics on suspicion of having COVID-19, with the most common one being Azithromycin.

Conclusion: The study highlights that a greater knowledge on antibiotic use does not necessitate better attitude towards their cautious and rational use. The use of antibiotics for self-limiting indications like cough, cold and sore throat needs to be restricted through stricter regulations.

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The horizontal bar chart titled "Socio-Demographic Characteristics of Respondents" shows that the majority correctly believe antibiotics can increase AMR (68%), kill commensal bacteria (91.2%), and have serious side effects (88%), while most (94%) correctly disagree that antibiotics speed up recovery from most coughs and colds.

Published

2024-05-31 — Updated on 2024-07-09

How to Cite

Ghosh, H., & Gupta, K. (2024). Antibiotic Use Awareness and Practices in the Indian Community During Later Stages of COVID-19 Pandemic: A Cross-Sectional Survey. International Journal of Medical Students, 12(2), 133–140. https://doi.org/10.5195/ijms.2024.1885

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