Consumer knowledge and perceptions about antibiotics and upper respiratory tract infections in a community pharmacy

Fredericks, Ian, Hollingworth, Samantha, Pudmenzky, Alex, Rossato, Laurence, Syed, Shahzad and Kairuz, Therese (2015) Consumer knowledge and perceptions about antibiotics and upper respiratory tract infections in a community pharmacy. International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy, 37 6: 1213-1221. doi:10.1007/s11096-015-0188-y

Author Fredericks, Ian
Hollingworth, Samantha
Pudmenzky, Alex
Rossato, Laurence
Syed, Shahzad
Kairuz, Therese
Title Consumer knowledge and perceptions about antibiotics and upper respiratory tract infections in a community pharmacy
Journal name International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 2210-7703
Publication date 2015-12-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s11096-015-0188-y
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 37
Issue 6
Start page 1213
End page 1221
Total pages 9
Place of publication Dordrecht, Netherlands
Publisher Springer
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background Overuse of antibiotics is a global concern and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned of relapsing to an era with no effective antibiotics. In Australia, various national consumer campaigns had been running since 2000, and the concern was prioritised in 2011, when the need for a national approach to address antibiotic resistance was identified.

Objective The aim of this study was to explore consumer attitudes and knowledge about (upper respiratory tract) infections, colds and flu, and antibiotics, and to identify factors contributing to antibiotic misuse which could be addressed by tailored patient counselling.

Setting A community pharmacy in an area of Brisbane, Australia.

Method A self-administered anonymous questionnaire was distributed among pharmacy consumers. Perceptions of, and knowledge about antibiotics were measured using a 5-point Likert-type scale of agreement/disagreement.

Main outcome measure The proportion of self-diagnosers and non self-diagnosers who agreed/disagreed with the attitude statement, “I know that I need antibiotics before I visit my doctor”; and the proportion of mistaken and non-mistaken who agreed/disagreed with the statement, “I will get better faster if I take antibiotics when I have a cold or flu”.

Results Over a third of the 252 participants believed that they would recover faster by taking antibiotics when suffering from a cold or flu, and nearly one-fifth felt that antibiotics would cure viral infections. More females (62.2 vs. 43.9 %) self-diagnosed (p = 0.002) although more males (42.1 vs. 30.8 %) were mistaken about the efficacy of antibiotics for treating colds and flus. Mistaken respondents were more likely than non-mistaken respondents to self-diagnose (p = 0.01).

Conclusion This study confirms a lack of knowledge among consumers about the efficacy of antibiotics in treating viral infections despite education campaigns. The findings strongly suggest there is a need for pharmacists and other health care professionals to elicit consumer beliefs and understanding about antibiotics and to tailor their advice appropriately.
Keyword Antibiotics
Consumer attitudes
Health literacy
Upper respiratory tract infections
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering Publications
School of Pharmacy Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 2 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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