Health literacy, knowledge, household disposal, and misuse practices of antibiotics among UAE residents: a nationwide cross-sectional study

Zelal Kharaba, Sayer Al-Azzam, Shoroq M. Altawalbeh, Alin Alkwarit, Noor Abdulkareem Salmeh, Yassen Alfoteih, Mohammad Araydah, Reema Karasneh, Mamoon A. Aldeyab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: The study aimed to evaluate health literacy, knowledge, household disposal, and misuse practices of antibiotics among the United Arab Emirates (UAE) residents. 

Research design and methods: An observational cross-sectional study was conducted between May 1st and August 31st, 2022. The study encompassed a sample of 1074 participants. 

Results: Participants involved in a medical field (OR: 1.98, 95% CI: 1.45–2.69, p < 0.001) were more likely to have adequate health literacy. Most participants rarely (n = 315; 29.33%) or sometimes (n = 292; 27.19%) sought help from a doctor or pharmacist with reading the instructions and leaflets of antibiotics. A bachelor`s degree was associated with a reduced odds ratio of self-medication with antibiotics (OR: 0.46, 95% CI: 0.29–0.75, p = 0.002). Only 10.61% of unneeded antibiotics were returned to the pharmacy, 79.42% were disposed of at home and 10% were disposed of using other disposal practices. 

Conclusions: Higher levels of adequate health literacy were observed in those involved in the medical field and those with higher educational levels. The prevalence of self-medication with antibiotics among the UAE population was low. These findings highlight the importance of improving health literacy, promoting responsible antibiotic use, and encouraging proper disposal practices among the population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-113
Number of pages11
JournalExpert Review of Anti-Infective Therapy
Issue number1-3
Early online date24 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2024

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