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Campaign to Decrease Illegal Antibiotic Use Assessed

Study finds educational campaign not sufficient to decrease use among Latino community

FRIDAY, Nov. 13 (HealthDay News) -- An educational initiative may not be sufficient to decrease use of antibiotics without a prescription (WORx) by the Latino community, according to a study in the November/December issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Arch G. Mainous III, Ph.D., of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, and colleagues conducted a nine-month culturally-appropriate information campaign in 2008 to counter the use of antibiotics WORx. Two-hundred fifty Latino adults were surveyed post-campaign in Charleston, with another 250 surveyed in Greenville, S.C., where the campaign was not implemented. The Charleston results were also compared to a 2004 pre-test survey.

In Charleston, the researchers found that 25.9 percent of participants reported seeing the campaign material compared to 8.6 percent in Greenville. Among those surveyed post-campaign, 30.6 percent in Charleston and 19.7 percent in Greenville said they obtained antibiotics WORx in the United States. The primary predictor for obtaining antibiotics WORx in the United States was having obtained antibiotics WORx outside the country. While having seen the campaign material was not a significant predictor for getting antibiotics, the percentage of participants obtaining antibiotics WORx in Charleston post-campaign was higher than in the 2004 survey (30.6 versus 19.2 percent).

"The increased use of antibiotics in the intervention community compared with the control community may have resulted in the intervention actually increasing the awareness of the availability of antibiotics without a prescription in the intervention community and subsequently given rise to higher antibiotic usage," the authors write.

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