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Keywords:

  • self-medication;
  • antibiotics;
  • Turkey

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this study was to determine the frequency and reasons for self-medication with antibiotics within the last 12 months among primary healthcare center attendants aged 18 or over, in Ankara.

Methods

A questionnaire was applied by face to face interview technique to 2696 subjects attending at five primary healthcare centers. Information on demographic characteristics, intention to self-medication with antibiotics and self-medication within last 12 months were collected.

Results

It was found that 28% of the subjects were storing antibiotics at home. The percentage of self-administering antibiotics was 19.1% in the last 12 months. The most common reasons for self-administration of antibiotics were sore throat (59.6%), fever (46.2%), and cough (40.0%). Other reasons were dental infection, rheumatism, and fatigue. According to age groups, the most common self-medicating group was those aged 40–49 with 23% while the least self-usage was in the 60–69 age groups with 11.8%. Male sex, being single, educational level of secondary school or higher, being employed and not having social security increased self-administration of antibiotics (p < 0.05).

Conclusions

The study indicated the need for legal regulations regarding the sale of antibiotics without prescription and, health education is required for the community to decrease the inappropriate use of antibiotics and self-medication. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.