Background: Inappropriate uses of antibiotics for treatment of common self-limiting
infections is a major dispensing malpractice worldwide. This potentially may result in
development of resistant bacterial strains, which represents a significant public health
problem. This study aimed to describe the pattern of antibiotics dispensing by Community
Pharmacists (CPs) regarding symptomatic diagnosis, antibiotic categories, and adherence
to therapeutic doses. Methods: Between Jan to Jun 2019, by using trained simulated
patients (SPs) with simulated clinical scenarios of having upper respiratory tract infections,
across-sectional observational study of antibiotic dispensing encounters was conducted at
80 randomly selected pharmacies in the city of Tripoli, Libya. SPs were trained to deal with
the pharmacists and record their notice after each visit in specific form developed by the
researcher. The data were descriptively analysed, using Microsoft excel. Results: Different
types of medicines were dispensed by the visited pharmacists for treating URTIs, ranges
from mild analgesics to prescription items such as antibiotics, antihistamines, and cough
medicines. Of the total 80 pharmacist surveyed, a 25% (n=20) of the visited pharmacists
prescribed and dispensed antibiotics, representing a such good knowledge and dispensing
behaviour. Conclusions: The findings suggested good professional practices by CPs. Our
findings also suggest that dispensing regulations need to be maintained and community
pharmacists must be supported.
Key words: Antibiotics – self-medication – misuse.