Antibiotics in Serbian Households: a Source of Potential Health and Environmental Threats?

Cent Eur J Public Health. 2015 Jun;23(2):114-8. doi: 10.21101/cejph.a4093.


Aim: Worldwide data indicate that antibiotics are frequently used inappropriately. The objective of this study was to investigate the extent of storage and wastage of antibacterial agents in households in Novi Sad, Serbia.

Methods: The study was performed in 8 months period (December 2011-July 2012) in households in Novi Sad, Serbia. The households were randomly selected from the telephone directory. The interviewer performed the survey visiting each household.

Results: The total number of antibacterial agents in the 383 surveyed households was 318, constituting 7.3% of the total stored medications. From 383 families included in the study antibiotics were found in 178 (46.5%). In 13 (7.3%) families were found more than one pack of the same antibiotics. The median number of antibacterial agents per household was 1 (range 1-5). The most common antibacterial agents that were not in current use were cephalexin (22.1%) and amoxicillin (16.6%), followed by doxycycline (11.4%), sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim (11.4%) and amoxicillin/clavulanic acid (9.2%). The percentage of expired antibacterial agents was 20.8%, while 85.2% were not currently in use.

Conclusion: Antibacterial agents were commonly encountered in Serbian households, and a relatively large percentage was wasted. Informational and educational activities aimed at improving the public knowledge about antimicrobials play the leading role in reducing imprudent use of antibiotics.

Keywords: Serbia; antibiotics; households; storage; wastage.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Drug Storage / methods*
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Refuse Disposal / methods*
  • Serbia
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents