Objective: Self-medication with antibiotics (SMA) is a common cause of antibiotic resistance, a major public health problem. This research aimed to identify the prevalence of SMA and explore reasons for practicing SMA among people living in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Methods: A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted from May to November 2017 in 12 community pharmacies operating across Kabul, Afghanistan. Multivariable logistic regression was conducted to identify the factors associated with the use of SMA.
Results: Out of 385 participants, 282 (73.2%) practiced SMA during the last year. Overall, 241 (62.6%) were 'very concerned' about the use of SMA, and 156 (40.5%) highlighted it is bad to practice SMA. The top three antibiotics used for self-medication were penicillin (ATC class: J01C), metronidazole (ATC: P01AB01), and ceftriaxone (ATC: J01DD04). Economic problems, lack of time to visit doctors, and ease of use were cited as the main reasons for practicing SMA. Furthermore, female participants were less likely to practice SMA compared to male counterparts.
Conclusion: While efforts should be directed to enforce strict drug regulations system and awareness programs, priority should be given to provide accessible, affordable, and quality health care services to increase citizen's compliance to appropriate drug prescriptions.
Keywords: Afghanistan; Kabul; antibiotic resistance; antibiotics; low-income countries; self-medication.