Community pharmacists’ management of self-limiting infections: a simulation study in Akwa Ibom State, South-South Nigeria

  • Richard Mary Akpan
  • Emmanuel Imo Udoh
  • Samuel Emediong Akpan
  • Chioma Cynthia Ozuluoha
Keywords: ntibiotics; pharmacists; common cold; acute diarrhoea; community pharmacy; patient simulation.


Background: Inappropriate use of antibiotics, especially for treatment of self-limiting infections remains one of the major drivers of antibiotic resistance (ABR). Community pharmacists can contribute to reducing ABR by ensuring antibiotics are dispensed only when necessary.

Objective: To assess community pharmacists’ management of self-limiting infections.

Methods: A purposive sample of 75 pharmacies participated in the study. Each pharmacy was visited by an investigator and a trained simulated patient who mimicked symptoms of common cold and acute diarrhoea, respectively. Interactions between the simulated patient and pharmacist were recorded by the investigator in a data collection form after each visit. Descriptive statistical analysis was carried out. Ethics approval was obtained from the state Ministry of Health Research Ethics Committee.

Results: For common cold, 68% (51/75) of pharmacists recommended an antibiotic. Azithromycin, amoxicillin/clavulanic acid, and sulphamethoxazole/trimethoprim (43%, 24%, 20%, respectively) were the most frequently dispensed agents. For acute diarrhoea, 72% (54/75) of pharmacists dispensed one antibiotic, while 15% dispensed more than one antibiotic. The most frequently dispensed agent was metronidazole (82%), which was dispensed in addition to amoxicillin or tetracycline among pharmacists who dispensed more than one agent. In both infection scenarios, advice on dispensed antibiotics was ofered in 73% and 87% of the interactions, respectively.

Conclusion: This study shows high rate of inappropriate antibiotics dispensing among community pharmacists. There is need for improved awareness of antibiotic resistance through continuing education and training of community pharmacists. Furthermore, the inclusion of antibiotic resistance and stewardship in undergraduate pharmacy curriculum is needed.

Keywords: Antibiotics; pharmacists; common cold; acute diarrhoea; community pharmacy; patient simulation.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1680-6905