Knowledge and practices regarding antibiotics use: findings from a cross-sectional survey among Italian adults.

Published: 04-06-2020| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/6rkz746j35.1
Aida Bianco,
Francesca Licata,
Rossella Zucco,
Rosa Papadopoli,
Maria Pavia


The dataset was used in a cross-sectional study aimed to assess the knowledge of antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and the antibiotic use among the general public in Southern Italy and to analyze whether socio-demographic characteristics could be associated with poor knowledge and improper practices. From March to November 2019, a face to face interview was conducted with all consecutive adult subjects attending the waiting room of 27 randomly selected general practitioners (GPs) and community based pediatrician (CBPs) in Southern Italy. Two trained physicians, not involved in patient care, conducted the structured face to face interview. All the information was self-reported by the participants, no medical records or interviews by any GP or CBP were used as sources of data. The questionnaire covered a broad range of issues related to sociodemographic characteristics of the participants (gender, age, nationality, marital status, education level and employment status, having at least a son/daughter and his/her age), knowledge of antibiotics and AMR and practices regarding the consumption of antibiotics. Multivariate analyses were conducted using stepwise multivariate logistic regression modelling techniques to investigate the following outcomes: knowledge about antibiotics and AMR; antibiotic use in the previous 12 months; antibiotic use for common cold and/or fever; self-medication with antibiotics. To assess knowledge, the participants were asked to respond to 10 different statements. An overall knowledge score was calculated by assigning one point for each correct response and summing the scores to each statement. The total score ranged from 0 to 10. The overall median knowledge score of the respondents was then estimated and a ≤50th percentile score was interpreted as poor knowledge, while a >50th percentile score as good knowledge. The response rate was 89.7%. In the sample, 29.2% thought that antibiotics are effective for viral infections and 49.5% correctly recognized the definition of AMR. Predictors of good knowledge about antibiotics and AMR were female gender and a higher education level. Almost half of the respondents had used antibiotics in the previous year and 23.6% took antibiotics to treat a common cold and/or fever. Among participants, 25.5% reported to have bought antibiotics without a prescription, and 30.6% were classified as antibiotic self-medication users. The findings of this study highlighted a considerable antibiotic consumption in the adult population of Southern Italy together with misconceptions regarding the correct indication for antibiotic use that could foster indiscriminate antibiotic use.