Review uncovers overuse of antibiotics in aged care

Data from four Melbourne homes found a significant burden of antimicrobial use over four years and identified URTI, bronchitis and asymptomatic bacteriuria as conditions where use may be inappropriate. 

Around 40% of antibiotic prescribing was for episodes not meeting criteria for clinical infection, the authors said.

Of all episodes treated with antimicrobials, 36% had documentation indicating a clinical specimen was obtained.

“Opportunities exist to further improve the use of antimicrobials in [this] setting,” the authors said.

But RACGP spokesman Dr Ronald McCoy said the data reflected the challenge of treating a “fragile population” without easy access to testing facilities.

“GPs [may] have a low threshold for prescribing if they consider that there is a risk,” Dr McCoy said.

Med J Aust 2012; 196:327-31