ANTIBIOTICS IN THE HANDS OF COMMUNITY PHARMACISTS: A PROSPECTIVE AVENUE FOR COMMUNITY BASED ANTIMICROBIAL STEWARDSHIP INITIATIVE
Antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) is high on the agenda of global health organizations with an increasing interest in community-based AMS initiatives, as this is where the majority of antibiotic use occurs. This study sought to evaluate the practice of community pharmacists toward antibiotic use and the likely need for AMS. This was a descriptive cross-sectional study conducted among registered community pharmacists in Benin City, Nigeria. A structured questionnaire was used for data collection. All study participants were duly informed on study objectives and informed consent was sought. The data obtained from the study were analyzed using IBM SPSS version 22. Of the 101 pharmacists who participated in the study, 92 (91.1%) dispensed antibiotics without prescription. The most prescribed antibiotic is Ciprofloxacin 59(58.42%), followed by Amoxicillin 42 (41.58%) and Amoxicillin-Clavulanic acid 41 (40.59%). Ninety-six (95%) of the pharmacists use antibiotics agents as an adjunct in Typhoid fever treatment, and 78(77.2%) of them use it as an adjunct in Malaria treatment. Cost 32 (31.68%) is the most common reason for dispensing antibiotics without laboratory investigation and physician’s consultation. Most (93.1%) pharmacists agree that they need training on antimicrobial stewardship practice. The antibiotic prescription pattern among community pharmacists was high, the possibility of antibiotic misuse in the hands of community pharmacists without appropriate guidelines cannot be overlooked. This emphasizes the need for the inclusion of community pharmacies in antimicrobial stewardship programs.
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