Self-medication with antibiotics among non-medical university students of Karachi: A cross-sectional study

Jawad J. Shah, Hamna Ahmad, Binte B. Rehan, Sidra Najeeb, Mirrah Mumtaz, Hashim H. Jilani, Sharoz S. Rabbani, Zakariya Z. Alam, Saba Farooq, M. Masood Kadir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The prevalence of self -medication with antibiotics is quite high in developing countries as opposed to developed countries. Antibiotics are often taken erroneously for certain ailments, without having the appropriate knowledge of their use. This carries potential risks for the individual as well as the community, in form of several side effects such as antibiotic resistance. Therefore the prevalence of self-medicated antibiotics in developing countries needs to be studied. Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out at six different non-medical universities of Karachi. 431 students were included in the study. Data was collected using self-administered questionnaires and analyzed using SPSS version 19. Results: 50.1% students reported having self-medicated themselves in the past 6 months and 205 (47.6%) reported self-medication with antibiotics. Amoxicillin was the most self-prescribed antibiotic (41.4%). Awareness of the adverse effects of antibiotics was demonstrated by 77.3% of the students and sleep disturbance was the most commonly known (46.5%) side effect. 63.1% denied having any knowledge about antibiotic resistance and only 19.9% correctly knew that indiscriminate use of antibiotics can lead to increased antibiotic resistance. Conclusion: The prevalence of self-medication with antibiotics among the non-medical university students was high despite the awareness of adverse effects. Antibiotic resistance was a relatively unknown terminology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number74
JournalBMC pharmacology & toxicology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2014


  • Adverse effects
  • Antibiotics
  • Antibiotics resistance
  • Non-medical
  • Self-medication


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