Original Research

Antibiotic usage among the elderly in Tan Loi commune, Dong Hy district, Thai Nguyen province, Vietnam

Abstract

Introduction: Antibiotic resistance has been determined as a global threat. Inappropriate use of antibiotics is a crucial driver of the evolution of resistance.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted aiming to describe the antibiotic usage among the elderly (60 years old and above) in Tan Loi commune, Dong Hy district, Thai Nguyen province, Vietnam in 2020. The questionnaire survey was submitted to 370 participants.

Results: More than half of the participants were female. The proportion of the elderly who bought antibiotics using a prescription was 39.2%. The participants normally bought the medicines the same as the previous (53.0%), medicine seller’s advice (44.9%), and relatives/friends’ advice (15.4%). More than half of the participants bought antibiotics themselves (57.8%). Local private pharmacies and health centers/hospitals were common locations for buying antibiotics, 63.8%, and 34.1% respectively. The percentage of the participants who stopped taking antibiotics when the symptoms are gone was 54.1%. More than 50.0% of the participants would change to more expensive antibiotics in case of symptoms are not released after using antibiotics. Some factors significantly associated with prescription usage were education levels, ethnic, obtained information related to antibiotic uses, others helping to buy the antibiotics.

Conclusions: The proportion of the elderly using antibiotics with a prescription was low. Majority of the participants bought antibiotics from the local private pharmacies. The main source of information to buy antibiotics was as the last time and medicine sellers. Some factors significantly associated with prescription use were education level, ethnicity, obtained information related to antibiotic uses, individuals who buy the medicines. Interventions are needed to improve knowledge and practice in buying antibiotics not only for the elderly but also for health service providers, private pharmacies in particular. 

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