Self-medication with antimicrobial drugs in Europe

Larissa Grigoryan, Flora M. Haaijer-Ruskamp, Johannes G.M. Burgerhof, Reli Mechtler, Reginald Deschepper, Arjana Tambic-Andrasevic, Retnosari Andrajati, Dominique L. Monnet, Robert Cunney, Antonella Di Matteo, Hana Edelstein, Rolanda Valinteliene, Alaa Alkerwi, Elizabeth A. Scicluna, Pawel Grzesiowski, Ana Claudia Bara, Thomas Tesar, Milan Cizman, Jose Campos, Cecilia Stålsby LundborgJoan Birkin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

277 Citations (Scopus)


We surveyed the populations of 19 European countries to compare the prevalence of antimicrobial drug self-medication in the previous 12 months and intended self-medication and storage and to identify the associated demographic characteristics. By using a multistage sampling design, 1,000-3,000 adults in each country were randomly selected. The prevalence of actual self-medication varied from 1 to 210 per 1,000 and intended self-medication from 73 to 449 per 1,000; both rates were high in eastern and southern Europe and low in northern and western Europe. The most common reasons for self-medication were throat symptoms (e.g., dry, inflamed, red, or sore throat, inflamed tonsils, tonsil pain). The main medication sources were pharmacies and medication leftover from previous prescriptions. Younger age, higher education, and presence of a chronic disease were associated with higher rates of self-medication. Attempts to reduce inappropriate self-medication should target prescribers, pharmacists, and the general public.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-459
Number of pages8
JournalEmerging Infectious Diseases
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006


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