Misuse of antibiotics in children is a major public health problem which may lead to increase antibiotic resistance in paediatric population. This study aims to evaluate parents’ knowledge and attitude toward antibiotic use in children with upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) in the Western region of Saudi Arabia. A cross-sectional study was conducted using self-administered questionnaire on parents of school children. Statistical analysis was used to identify factors affecting parents’ knowledge and attitude toward antibiotic use. Of the 820 respondents, almost 98% agreed that misuse of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance, and almost 74% stated that antibiotics are not useful for viral infections. However, 32.3% claimed that antibiotics can enhance the recovery from viral infections. Knowledge was better in Saudi than non-Saudi parents (p=0.001), parents with higher educational levels (p=0.00008), parents with higher monthly incomes (p=0.0001), and parents of children in private and international schools (p=0.0001). Almost 35% reported self-prescription of antibiotics for their children at least once, and about 13% self-prescribed leftover antibiotics. Positive attitude was reported in parents with high monthly income (p=0.0001), and parents whose children were in private or international schools (p=0.0001). There was no significant relation between positive attitude and parents’ nationality (p=0.114), nor educational levels (p=0.734). Good knowledge and positive attitude toward antibiotic use in children were reported in the Western region of Saudi Arabia. Future studies may be required to compare the current data to those after the ban of uncontrolled antibiotic prescription and dispensing in Saudi Arabia.
Key words: antibiotic, misuse, knowledge, attitude, Saudi Arabia, antimicrobial resistance, upper respiratory tract, infection.
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