GP antibiotic prescribing reduced and more selective

ANTIBIOTIC prescribing by general medical practices in England has reduced and become more selective in recent years, according to a study published on BMJ Open.

Researchers at King’s College London analysed antibiotic prescribing at 102 general practices in England that contributed data to the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) from 2014 to 2017. Prescriptions for all antibiotics and for broad-spectrum β-lactam antibiotics were evaluated.

They found that total antibiotic prescribing declined from 608 prescriptions per 1000 person-years in 2014 to 489 per 1000 person-years in 2017. Broad-spectrum β-lactam antibiotic prescribing decreased from 221 per 1000 person-years in 2014 to 163 per 1000 person-years in 2017.

The decline was similar for men and women but lower for patients over the age of 55. Antibiotic prescribing for patients with respiratory infections declined by 9.8 per cent per year and 5.7 per cent for genitourinary infections.

The authors concluded: "Antibiotic prescribing has reduced and become more selective but substantial unnecessary AB use may persist. Improving the quality of diagnostic coding for AB use will help to support antimicrobial stewardship efforts."

Link: Reducing antibiotic prescribing in primary care in England from 2014 to 2017: population-based cohort study