Education targets antibiotic overuse

EDUCATIONAL programs that target both patients and GPs can reduce inappropriate antibiotic prescribing by up to a third, according to an international primary care study.

Researchers assessed the rate of antibiotic prescribing in nearly 50,000 consultations before and after implementing an intervention focused on distinguishing between viral and bacterial aetiology in respiratory tract infections (RTIs) over two winters.

The intervention, conducted in five European countries and Argentina, included a training course, clinical guidelines, and access to point of care testing for GPs, as well as posters and brochures for patients.

Among 440 GPs, the proportion of consultations resulting in an antibiotic prescription for lower RTIs after the intervention was reduced by between 9% and 42%, and for upper RTIs by between 5% and 20%, although no changes were seen in Sweden and Denmark.

“This study showed that a combined intervention program