Since the emergence of COVID-19, several different medicines including antimicrobials have been administered to patients to treat COVID-19. This is despite limited evidence of the effectiveness of many of these, fueled by misinformation. These utilization patterns have resulted in concerns with patients’ safety and a rise in antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Health care workers (HCWs) were required to serve in high-risk areas throughout the pandemic. Consequently, they may be inclined towards self-medication. However, they have a responsibility to ensure any medicines recommended or prescribed for the management of patients with COVID-19 are evidence based. This though is not always the case. A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted among HCWs in six districts of the Punjab to assess their knowledge, attitude and practices of self-medication during the ongoing pandemic. This included HCWs working a a range of public sector hospitals in Punjab Province. A total of 1173 HCWs were included in the final analysis. The majority of HCWs possessed good knowledge regarding self-medication and good attitudes. However, 60% were practicing self-medication amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The most frequent medicines consumed by the HCWs under self-medication were antipyretics (100%), antibiotics (80.4%) and vitamins (59.9%). Azithromycin was the most commonly purchase antibiotic (35.1%). In conclusion, HCWs possess good knowledge of, and attitude, regarding medicines they pur-chased. However, there are concerns that high rates of purchasing antibiotics, especially ‘Watch’ antibiotics, for self-medication may enhance AMR. This needs addressing.


© 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Cite as

Mustafa, Z., Iqbal, S., Asif, H., Salman, M., Jabbar, S., Mallhi, T., Khan, Y., Sono, T., Schellack, N., Meyer, J. & Godman, B. 2023, 'Knowledge, attitude and practices of self-medication including antibiotics among health care professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic in Pakistan; findings and implications', Antibiotics, 12(3), article no: 481. https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics12030481

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Last updated: 07 March 2023
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