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Research reveals levels of inappropriate prescriptions in England

27/02/2018

At least 20% of all antibiotics prescribed in primary care in England are inappropriate according to research published by Public Health England (PHE).

This implies that antibiotic prescribing nationally should be reduced by 10% by 2020, in accordance with the national ambition to cut levels of inappropriate prescribing in half. These data are published in 5 articles in a supplement to the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.

The research found that the majority of antibiotic prescriptions in English primary care were for infections of the respiratory and urinary tracts. However, in almost a third of all prescriptions, no clinical reason was documented. Antibiotic prescribing rates varied substantially between GP practices, nonetheless, there is scope for all practices across the country to reduce their rates of prescribing.

For most conditions, substantially higher proportions of GP consultations resulted in an antibiotic prescription than is appropriate according to expert opinion. An antibiotic was prescribed in 41% of all uncomplicated acute cough consultations when experts advocated 10%, as well as:

  • bronchitis (actual: 82% versus ideal: 13%)
  • sore throat (actual: 59% versus ideal: 13%)
  • rhinosinusitis (actual: 88% versus ideal: 11%)
  • acute otitis media in 2 to 18 year olds (actual: 92% versus ideal: 17%)

For more information go to the Government website

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