Antibiotic misuse and compliance with infection control measures during COVID-19 pandemic in community pharmacies in Egypt

Int J Clin Pract. 2021 Feb 8:e14081. doi: 10.1111/ijcp.14081. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Globally, antibiotics misuse by the public has been reported in the era of COVID-19, despite the discouraging instructions of the World Health Organization, especially for mild cases.

OBJECTIVE: Is to describe this antibiotic misuse and its contributing factors. Also, to measure the pharmacists' application of infection preventive practices during the pandemic.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted among randomly selected Egyptian community pharmacists (Center, East, Delta, and Upper Egypt) using a questionnaire and direct interviews from 1 to 30 August 2020. The questionnaire consisted of two parts, the first covered pharmacist's demographic data and their application of basic infection preventive practices (eg, wearing face masks, regular hand sanitization, etc), and the other part was related to antibiotic dispensing patterns. Data were descriptively analyzed and the impact of participant experience on the responses was evaluated using the χ2 test.

RESULTS: From 480 randomly selected Egyptian community pharmacists, 413 (87%) consented to participate in the study. 86.7% of the participants were keen to wear face masks (n = 358) and 86.2% kept regular hand sanitization (n = 356); whereas, 46.9% (n = 194) maintained adequate antibiotic stock supply during the pandemic. Nearly 67% (n = 275) of the pharmacists reported that patients were more likely to be given antibiotics for showing any sign or symptom of COVID-19 infection, and 82% (n = 74 278) of the dispensed antibiotics were given upon physician recommendation. Azithromycin, Ceftriaxone, and Linezolid were the major antibiotics dispensed to COVID-19 presumptive patients Azithromycin was given to ~40% of presumptive patients showing only mild or moderate symptoms for 5-10 days. Additionally, antibiotic combinations were given to 74% (n = 62 479) of home-isolated patients for a maximum of 2 weeks.

CONCLUSIONS: Pharmacists applied suitable sanitation and infection control protocols. Meanwhile, antibiotics were dispensed heavily during this pandemic without proper clinical indication and for long durations supporting the idea of antibiotic misuse.

PMID:33559255 | DOI:10.1111/ijcp.14081