Epidemiology of Antibiotic Use and Drivers of Cross-Border Procurement in a Mexican American Border Community

Heather T. Essigmann, David A. Aguilar, William B. Perkison, Katherine G. Bay, Magdalena R. Deaton, Sharon A. Brown, Craig L. Hanis, Eric L. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: The U.S.-Mexico Border is an area of opportunity for improved health care access; however, gaps remain as to how and where U.S. border residents, particularly those who are underinsured, obtain care. Antibiotics are one of the most common reported drivers of cross-border healthcare access and a medication of particular concern since indiscriminate or inappropriate use is associated with antimicrobial resistance. In addition, many studies assessing preferences for Mexican pharmaceuticals and healthcare in U.S. border residents were done prior to 2010 when many prescription medications, including antibiotics, were available over the counter in Mexico. Methods: Data used in this study were collected during the baseline examination of an ongoing longitudinal cohort study in Starr Country, Texas, one of 14 counties on the Texas-Mexico border. Participants self-reported the name, date of use, and the source country of each antibiotic used in the past 12 months. Logistic regression was used to determine social, cultural, and clinical features associated with cross-border procurement of antibiotics. Results: Over 10% of the study cohort reported using antibiotics in the past 30 days with over 60% of all rounds used in the past 12 months sourced from Mexico. A lack of health insurance and generation score, a measure of acculturation, were the strongest predictors of cross-border procurement of antibiotics. Conclusions: Factors previously associated with cross-border acquisition of antibiotics are still present despite changes in 2010 to prescription drug regulations in Mexico. These results may be used to inform future public health initiatives to provide culturally sensitive education about responsible antibiotic stewardship and to address barriers to U.S. healthcare and pharmaceutical access in medically underserved, impoverished U.S.-Mexico border communities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number832266
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
StatePublished - Mar 10 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 Essigmann, Aguilar, Perkison, Bay, Deaton, Brown, Hanis and Brown.


  • U.S.-Mexico border
  • acculturation
  • antibiotics
  • border health
  • health care
  • insurance
  • socioeconomic status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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