Prevalence and Factors Associated with Antibiotic Self-Medication among Medical Students at University of Puthisastra, Phnom Penh, Cambodia


Antibiotic self medication
Medical students
Antibiotic resistance
misuse of antibiotic



Sophearom Chhea1, Bunkea Tol1,2, Chhorvann Chhea1

1. School of Public Health, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

2- Epidemiology Unit, National Centre for Entomology, Parasitology and Malaria Control


Antibiotics are dispensed and used without prescription in many parts of the world. Misuse of antibiotics leads to bacterial resistance which is risky for both individual and community. One reason leading to inappropriate use of antibiotics is self-medication, which continues to widespread globally including Cambodia. Limited studies on antibiotic self-medication (ASM) have been conducted, especially among medical students. This study aimed at exploring knowledge, attitude, and practices towards ASM among medical students and factors associated with this practice.


A cross sectional study was conducted among medical students from year 2 to year 8 at University of Puthisastra. Questionnaires were sent by email to 525 medical students to get at least 238 respondents as the required sample. 317 students filled in the survey forms. The data were exported to Stata Version 14 for analysis. The descriptive statistics was used for describing knowledge, attitude, and practices towards ASM. Logistic regression was used to assess factors associated with ASM.


The average age of students was 21.9 ± 2.2 years. 54.6% (173) were male and 45.4% (144) were female. The reported prevalence of ASM was 20.5%. ASM was mainly for not severe illnesses (38.1%). ASM was found not having any significant association with age, gender, marital status, year of study, ethnic group, family members, family member working in health sector, living with family or away from family, family income, health insurance and studying pharmacology course. However, in multivariate analysis, students who never attended class or seminar or workshop about antibiotic resistance was likely to practice ASM (AOR: 0.44, 95% CI: 0.21-0.91, p=0.029).


Although the reported practice of ASM in the past year (20.5%) was relatively low comparing to neighboring countries, it is still a concern in Cambodia as more and more antibiotics become available at the pharmacies across the country. Providing knowledge on antibiotic resistance to students could be a public health intervention to reduce further the ASM.