Objectives: Irrational use of antibiotics is a major driver of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), exacerbated by dispensing of antibiotics without a prescription especially for typically viral infections. Such dispensing is common despite legislation. Pharmacists play a key role in advising on medicines, especially in countries where most patients seek pharmacist help as they cannot afford both physician fees and medicines. Consequently, our objective was to ascertain pharmacists' skills and knowledge regarding antibiotics when patients present to them with typically viral infections.
Methods: This was a qualitative cross-sectional survey among 370 community pharmacists in Albania, with carefully selected and validated topics. The main outcome measure was knowledge of antibiotics and current legislation.
Results: Variable knowledge regarding antibiotics among community pharmacists. 55% knew colds are caused by viruses and 93% that antibiotics are ineffective against influenza. However, 18% believed if colds last >4 days an antibiotic can bring a patient back to work, and only 13% stated antibiotics are ineffective against viruses. Encouragingly, 93% knew penicillins can cause anaphylactic shock, 74% that antibiotics kill bacteria causing infections, and only 7% that antibiotic misuse cannot cause AMR. However, 13% stated the main disadvantage of antibiotics is that they are ineffective against viruses and 93% admitted they had no treatment protocols to consult in their daily work to direct patient care.
Conclusion: Encouraging signs regarding pharmacists' knowledge of antibiotics in Albania; however, concerns. Instigating educational programmes among patients and pharmacists and greater enforcement of legislation should reduce AMR rates in Albania and across countries.
Keywords: AMR; Albania; Antibiotics; Antimicrobial resistance; Community pharmacy knowledge; Self-purchasing.
Copyright © 2018 International Society for Chemotherapy of Infection and Cancer. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.