How much do patients in Blantyre, Malawi know about antibiotics and other prescription only medicines?
This qualitative and quantitative exploratory study was conducted to assess patients’/customers’ knowledge, beliefs and practices about antibiotics and other prescription only medication (POM) in 10 community pharmacies in Blantyre, Malawi.
5 out of 10 pharmacies were selected by simple random sampling and 54 participants attending the selected pharmacies were interviewed.
The major antibiotic drugs frequently requested without a doctor’s prescription were Bactrim (Cotrimoxazole) and amoxicillin. Knowledge of these medicines was attributed to the patients’ previous medical conditions and doctor’s prescription. However this knowledge does not extend to understanding of proper therapeutic indications and dosage regimens for antibiotic therapy. The majority (30 out of 54 participants) did not know about the importance of completing a prescribed course of antibiotics. All 54 participants believed in the efficiancy of antibiotics.
Study participants had wide range of knowledge about antibiotics and other POM from hospital, but the majority had limited knowledge regarding clinical indications and correct dosage schedules.