Risk perception in abuse of antibiotics (Amoxicillin) - Sample Essay

Approximately eight decades ago, antibiotics were discovered and marked a very vital development in the medical health sector. From that time to date there has been a revolution on antibiotics in their use in the treatment, management, and outcome of infections disease. Antibiotics are currently the most prescribed and most used drugs in the world (Filippini, 2009). This is used as both appropriate and inappropriate.

Amoxicillin is one good example of the most widely used antibiotic in the world. Its appropriate use is through clinical prescriptions by professional medical practitioners while its inappropriate use is through self prescription through over the counter purchase; which makes up the majority of its use (Ali, 2010). This over the counter prescription and use is attributed also to the wide varieties that have evolved of the drug making it easily and widely available for purchase in many pharmacies across the globe. While some of these generics are almost similar to the original, some lack the basic important constituents of the original drug making them more susceptible to the risks of abuse of the drug.

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It is used in the treatment of susceptible bacterial infections and together with other drugs in the treatment of stomach ulcers. It’s most common because it is the most easily absorbed after oral administration to the body.

However, this antibiotic has largely become misused and abused posing vital risks o the human health. The perception of these risks that it poses to different people is in different capacities. In this essay, I purpose to discuss on the various ways through which the risks from the abuse of antibiotics; particularly amoxicillin, is perceive by different people in the society and the resultant effects that are accrued by these different perceptions.

First of all, perceptions of anything in the world are based on various common factors such as, age, race, and ethnicity amongst many other aspects. In the same way, the perceptions of the risk that are posed form the abuse of Amoxicillin and other antibiotics are affected.

According to Abimbola (2013), students who are younger and fresher to the university are more ignorant to the risks posed by the abuse of antibiotics than those who are older. This is attributed to the fact that older individuals are more mature and thus aware of their health and responsibilities they have towards themselves and other. While the younger ones are idealized with the general idea of fullness of energy and availability of time to change in future.

In the same way, other aspects such as gender also play a big part in the perception of risks pertaining to the abuse of Amoxicillin and other antibiotics. This is established in the results of many research studies that confirm that females are more careful in handling antibiotic prescriptions than men. Females adhere more to their dosage finishing it to the end even if they get healed in the process as opposed to males who abandon the dosage immediately they feel better; oblivious of the risks they expose themselves to (Ropeik, 2013).

Additionally, everything that people do in this world is a risk. Most of these things are done as calculated risks and some are just done in the consideration that the risks are inevitable due to the vitality of conducting the action: taking for instance travelling.

People travel everyday to different designations through the use of vehicles which pose great risks to their health and livelihoods. Still they do in the view that there is no alternative to it. In the same way has the use of antibiotics become to the general public. People have become so adopted and addicted to the use of antibiotics that they become oblivious of the risks involved in their abuse. Taking for example the use of Amoxicillin has become so adopted in the society such that some use them as mare painkillers. When an individual generates any disease or infection their first self prescription is Amoxicillin amongst other antibiotics. The use of these antibiotics has become to be viewed as a necessity in their lives and as such perceive the risks associated to the abuse of the drug as burdens inevitable for them to bear (Menzel, 2004).

According to a study conducted in china, most people perceive the risks associated with the abuse of antibiotics form the eyes of the medical practitioners. It was identified that many people were ignorant on the types of antibiotics they use and the risks that they pose to their wellbeing. This mainly attributed to the poorer local people in the country. Those who do not have extensive education and exposure to be able to understand and relate to the world of medicine. This is also a trait that is attributed in various other developing countries world side (Haak, 2002). A state where people perceive the risks as not pose to them individually due to the fact that they obtain their drugs from professional medical practitioners. They hold maximum trust in their medical practitioners and as such perceive drugs such as Amoxicillin as not posing any significant threat to their health as they are prescribed by medical practitioners.

However, this perception is misled as there are various factors interplaying in the risks associated with the abuse of Amoxicillin amongst other antibiotics.

Taking for instance the history of taking of the drugs or similar drugs, individual body resistance or reactions to the drug, and the use of other drugs that may not work well with Amoxicillin or other antibiotics amongst other aspects. This means that though the medical practitioner may be prescribing in their best knowledge of the drug and the situation, the patient is the one that best knows their body and health history and situation. This means that the perception that the risks of abuse of Amoxicillin and other antibiotics does not apply to an individual due to follow up on a professional medical practitioner’s prescription is unsubstantial. This is one of the major causes for the increased rates of abuse of Amoxicillin and other antibiotics in the world leading to the development of resistant strains to the drugs rendering them irrelevant thus posing life threatening risks to individuals (Okeke, 2009).

In the same study, another group was established that was more elite than the previous one. This group’s main attribute is the fact that they are more personally aware of the antibiotic drugs that they are prescribed on and are taking. The acquisition of this knowledge is mainly attributed from their awareness of the media such as newspapers, the internet, and mostly form their own personal experience with the drugs. These are the people that are aware of the risks of the abuse of Amoxicillin and other antibiotics, the symptoms of these risks and their occurrence in a person.

As such, they keep a steady evaluation of their personal health in relation to the use of these antibiotics. They perceive these risks as real and as such respond to their presence through constant evaluation of their drug usage (Evans, 2011). However, this perception is lacking in the fact that these risks are not perceived at once but from the continual use and abuse of the drugs over a considerable period of time. In this view, the self reliance on ones medical history on the taking of a certain drug such as Amoxicillin does not provide correct information of the potential of its risks on ones health. This is because the first preliminary stages will not show any significantly notable effect thus making one entrust to use them which then translates to continual use up till a period where they succumb to the risk (Samore, 2011).

This is by far considered as one of the most dangerous and accelerator of the continual abuse of Amoxicillin amongst other antibiotics which consequently generates potential for the risks of their abuse. More so, this raises the question of the authenticity of the various brands and generics of various drugs in the market and in use in medical facilities across the world. Also, how this information is made available to the local consumers worldwide such that they are able to make conscious decisions regarding their drug use and general health.

Though most people are aware of the risks that are involved in the abuse of Amoxicillin, the psychological effect of this is very low. This is because the risk of abuse of Amoxicillin is not as imminent as other risks such as that of a terrorist bombing. Being a less imminent risk means that its occurrence is not as immediate and as shocking to the human health. It is viewed as a less vague and less threatening threat especially since its occurrence is not in a sudden effect. This represents one of the forms of a risk perception gap; where individuals worry lesser of a risk than they are supposed to hence allowing for its potential generation due to the inadequate attention that is accorded to it. As such, many people take the drug in various inappropriate ways in the knowledge of the risks but continue in the habit as the immediacy of the effect is not substantial.

Furthermore, very few people can attest to the occurrence of these risks to them such as the development of resistant strains to the drug. This is also true in the fact that those that do realize such risks in their health do not get to publicize them as health records are widely regarded as private affairs. This means that to those with unrealized risks on the abuse of the drug ignorantly continue with the habit while those who realize the risks get to suffer in silence of the consequences. This perception of the overall risks of the abuse of antibiotics across the world is very common and is the generator of the post antibiotic future that currently seems inevitable.

A future based on the rendering of antibiotics useless due to the development of resistant strains mainly propagated from the development and use of the different genres of the types of originally accredited antibiotics in the market; generization geared mainly by commercial purposes.

Just as the antibiotics have revolutionized over time, so has the perception of the risks involved in their use and abuse. Over time, antibiotics have evolved into many brands with generic forms of the original brands being produced. This is mainly attributed to the rush on economical gains and the entrepreneurial exploit of the market of the poorer society that are not able to purchase the original brands of the drugs. Following the production of these generic forms of Amoxicillin and of other antibiotics so has developed the strain of counterfeit drugs in the market. This has raised a lot of controversy over the effectiveness of these generic drugs and the risks that they pose to human health (Jin, 2009). This has allowed for the generation of various presumptions that the generic drugs are not very effective and their use and misuse pose greater risks to the health of individuals than those of the original brands.

However sometimes the realization of the real original brands proved challenging due to the likeness in the design and packaging of the generic and counterfeit drugs. This has led to the perception of the risks attributed to the use and abuse of Amoxicillin and other antibiotics as very acute and potentially viable. In this view, most people perceive the risks associated with the misuse of antibiotics as a sure thing that is even more compelled by the fact that the drugs available nowadays are ineffective generics and counterfeits.

However, despite this knowledge their use is still very high amongst the society world wide. This is due to the lack of an option; especially one that people are used to and hold effective in curing many forms of ailments. The less financially able in the society continue using the generic and counterfeit forms that are most affordable to them while those financially able try as much as possible to get a best judgment on the original brand for use (Warsaw, 2007). Both instances still holding on the increased use and abuse of the drug thus exposing people to its potential risks.

According to a study conducted by Kandakai (2013), most people who are taking an antibiotic and develop a side effect would take one of two choices; stop taking the medication and wait for the side effect to disappear or continue on taking the medication to the end and let the side effect run its course. This in combination with various other aspects in the study came to the realization that the risks that are posed by the abuse of antibiotics are perceived by many as temporal and imitable. This means that most people are aware of the risks that are posed for the abuse of antibiotics while others have even experience them form the occurrence of mild side effects. However, most still continue on their abusive trend and use of the antibiotics due to the perception that the risks are not permanent.

The view is that the occurrence of the potential risks posed by the abuse of antibiotics are in eventualities that can easily be dealt with and eliminated; even arising for the return trend and continual use of the drugs. Most people seam to believe that the risks posed by the abuse of antibiotics tend to disappear on themselves just as they appear given ample time (Goldsworthy, 2009). In this reason, people are not very threatened on the mannerism of use and abuse of the drugs such as Amoxicillin and other antibiotics.
This allows for irresponsible use which has fueled on the arrival of the post antibiotics age which is almost upon the world.

However, apart from the knowledge of professional medical practitioners and researchers, this post antibiotics age is to the pubic perceived as just a phase never to be realized in their time. In more serious development, this makes the fight against the abuse of Amoxicillin and other antibiotics even harder due to the redirection of efforts towards such
various distracting aspect as mass education and the fight against counterfeits amongst others.

The various modes of perception of the risk of the abuse of antibiotics are aspect that are instigators of the irresponsible us of the drugs. This has rendered many antibiotic drugs such as Amoxicillin inefficient in the curing of various bacterial ailments (Ruiz, 2010). This is in result of the creation of resistant strains to the drug. Not only is this resistance being experience in antibiotics it is also evident in various other groups of drugs and infections. This aspect poses great danger to the future health and lives of people (Ferraz, 2000). It threatens to brings an age where drugs will be ineffective to the fighting of diseases and infections leading to massive suffering and deaths; the post antibiotics age. It is thus important to ensure that this age is not reached through advocating for proper use of drugs.

Both the medical practitioners and the general public require extensive continual education on the current and developmental aspects in the field of drugs. This will ensure that they are in a best position to make informed prescriptions, decisions, and healthy drug habits. This means that people will have complete knowledge and independence when it comes to the medical conditions and treatment of their health; enabling to acquire best medications, treatment, advice, and challenge medical practitioners who may prove incompetent in their fields.

Furthermore, it is a duty that fall to the health sector worldwide to effect efficiency in the drugs that are being produced and consumed (Kardas, 2005). There should be acute standards and checks that ensure that all generics of Amoxicillin and other drugs that are produced are of the required standard. This will also ensure that there are no counterfeit drugs that are sold anywhere in the world. Even more, is the ensuring by the health sector that the original and recommended drugs are available to all consumers around the globe at an affordable price to all.

These aspects will ensure that the increased risk of abuse of antibiotics through the use of antibiotics that are counterfeit and not up to standard is already eliminated. Such is possible through the partnership and unilateraliaation of the health sectors of all regions of the world as one; such as the creation of a common force. As such, enabling for the pull of resources to ensure streamlining of the health sector to achieve harmonious efficiency throughout the world


  • Abimbola, I. (2013). Knowledge and practices in the use of antibiotics among a group of Nigerian university students. International Journal of Infection Control.
  • Ali, A. (2010). Irrational Self-Medication of Antibiotic in University of Kufa in Annajaf. Medical Journal of Babylon.
  • Evans, C. et.al (2011). Providers’ beliefs and behaviors regarding antibiotic prescribing and antibiotic resistance in persons with spinal cord injury or disorder. Journal of
    Spinal Cord Medicine.
  • Ferraz, B. (2000). Antibiotics consumption patterns and drugs leftovers in 6000 brazilian households. Advances in Therapy Journal.
  • Filippini, M. (2009). Regional consumption of antibiotics: A demand system approach. Economic Modeling Journal.


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