Characterisation of antibiotic prescriptions for acute respiratory tract infections in Danish general practice: a retrospective registry based cohort study

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Inappropriate use of antibiotics is contributing to the increasing rates of antimicrobial resistance. Several Danish guidelines on antibiotic prescribing for acute respiratory tract infections in general practice have been issued to promote rational prescribing of antibiotics, however it is unclear if these recommendations are followed. We aimed to characterise the pattern of antibiotic prescriptions for patients diagnosed with acute respiratory tract infections, by means of electronic prescriptions, labeled with clinical indications, from Danish general practice. Acute respiratory tract infections accounted for 456,532 antibiotic prescriptions issued between July 2012 and June 2013. Pneumonia was the most common indication with 178,354 prescriptions (39%), followed by acute tonsillitis (21%) and acute otitis media (19%). In total, penicillin V accounted for 58% of all prescriptions, followed by macrolides (18%) and amoxicillin (15%). The use of second-line agents increased with age for all indications, and comprised more than 40% of the prescriptions in patients aged >75 years. Women were more often prescribed antibiotics regardless of clinical indication. This is the first Danish study to characterise antibiotic prescription patterns for acute respiratory tract infections by data linkage of clinical indications. The findings confirm that penicillin V is the most commonly prescribed antibiotic agent for treatment of patients with an acute respiratory tract infection in Danish general practice. However, second-line agents like macrolides and amoxicillin with or without clavulanic acid are overused. Strategies to improve the quality of antibiotic prescribing especially for pneumonia, acute otitis media and acute rhinosinusitis are warranted.
Original languageEnglish
Article number37
Journalnpj Primary Care Respiratory Medicine
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2017

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