Are pharmacists' good knowledge and awareness on antibiotics taken for granted? The situation in Albania future implications across countries
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OBJECTIVES: Irrational use of antibiotics is a major driver of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), exacerbated by dispensing of antibiotics without a prescription especially for typically viral infections. Such dispensing is common despite legislation. Pharmacists play a key role advising on medicines especially in countries where most patients seek pharmacist help as they cannot afford both physician fees and medicines. Consequently, the objective was to ascertain skills and knowledge of pharmacists regarding antibiotics when patients present to them with typically viral infections. METHODS: Qualitative cross-sectional survey among 370 community pharmacists in Albania. Topics carefully selected and validated. Main outcome measure was current knowledge of antibiotics and current legislation. RESULTS: Variable knowledge regarding antibiotics among community pharmacists. 54% knew colds are caused by viruses and 93% that antibiotics are ineffective against influenza. However, 18% believed if colds last for more than 4days an antibiotic can bring a patient back to work, and only 13% stated antibiotics are ineffective against viruses. Encouragingly, 92.5% knew penicillins can cause anaphylactic shocks, 74% that antibiotics kill bacteria that cause infections and only 7% that antibiotic misuse cannot cause AMR. However, 13% stated the main disadvantage of antibiotics is they are ineffective against viruses and 93% admitted they had no treatment protocols to consult in their daily work to direct patient care. CONCLUSION: Encouraging signs regarding pharmacists' knowledge of antibiotics in Albania; however, concerns. Instigating educational programmes among patients and pharmacists and greater enforcement of legislation should reduce AMR rates in Albania and across countries.
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