Fall in antibiotic prescribing for URTIs

GPs also decreased their level of prescribing for other RTIs but to a lesser extent, according to the analysis, which drew from nearly 13,000 GPs and 1.28 million patient encounters.

The proportion of acute URTI problems for which GPs prescribed an antibiotic decreased from 42% of URTI contacts in 1998–99 to 32.3% in 2003–04, a rate that remains steady.

It means nearly one million fewer antibiotic scripts are written annually for URTIs now compared to 13 years ago, the researchers said in their Byte from BEACH bulletin.

The University of Sydney researchers said prescribing rates depended somewhat on management rates – how often patients presented, and these had dropped for URTI and other RTIs and were remaining stable.

Possible reasons included the NPS’s ‘no antibiotics for colds’ campaign and fewer presentations due to reduced bulk billing.

Overall, antibiotic prescribing for all indications