BACKGROUND: This study aimed to assess public understanding of antibiotics, self-medication, and drug disposal practices.
METHODS: A cross-sectional self-administered online survey was undertaken in Jordan.
RESULTS: The study was completed by 1,105 participants. When asked about their knowledge of antibiotics, rational antibiotic use, and disposal practices, 16% percent believed they should discontinue antibiotics once they felt better, and 12% agreed to take the same antibiotics prescribed to others for the same illness. Self-medication with antibiotics was practiced by 44% of the participants. Prior experience, healthcare costs, and pharmacy location were all major determinants of self-medication. Only 6.4% of unneeded antibiotics were returned to the pharmacy, 60% were kept at home, and 26.6% were disposed of at home. Almost half of those who kept the antibiotics said they would use them again, and one-third said they would give them to friends and family. Respondents who had used antibiotics within the previous 6 months (p = 0.052) and relied on medication leaflets (p = 0.031) and physician recommendations (p = 0.001) were less likely to self-medicate with antibiotics.
CONCLUSIONS: The study highlighted areas of inappropriate use of antibiotics, self-medication and the improper antibiotic disposal that can inform antimicrobial stewardship.