This study was devised to determine the knowledge, attitude and behaviour of an educated group of people towards antibiotic use and self-medication with antibiotics. Of 1380 members of academic staff (excluding those from the Faculty of Medicine) of Ege University, 602 were chosen by systematic sampling methods. Two groups were formed. Group A included academic staff from the Faculties of Dentistry and Pharmacy and Group 13, members of all other faculties. The mean age was 37.4 +/- 11.0 and 47.0% were females. The mean antibiotic knowledge score was 7.16 +/- 3.32. Self-medication with antibiotics was admitted by 45.8% of the total samle and 15.6% of the respondents used antibiotics until their symptoms disappeared regardless of the period of prescription. In Group A 48.8% and in Group B 80.7% of the respondents believed that antibiotics could be used for common cold. It is concluded that priority should be given to knowledge-based behaviour education programmes for the more highly educated community; there must also be restriction on the sale of antibiotics without prescription. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. and International Society of Chemotherapy. All rights reserved.