Prepared with the assistance of the Drug Utilization Sub-Committee of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee

In 1988, an editorial in Australian Prescriber (Aust Prescr 1988;11:2) commented that the empirical prescription of combinations of trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole for common infections was unjustified. This advice is now considered to be 'best practice' and there are few indications for these combinations. * It is gratifying to report that this 'best practice' advice has been followed and the use of these combinations has declined.

prescriptions DDDs/1000/day
1989/90 2,688,674 2.124
1990/91 2,375,361 1.893
1991/92 2,297,553 1.776
1992/93 2,111,257 1.637
1993/94 1,798,705 1.430
1994/95 1,469,297 1.178

Other interesting facts about drug utilisation can be found in 'Australian statistics on medicines'. The 4th edition (1992 -1994) is now available from the Australian Government Publishing Service (Free call 008 020 049) at a cost of
$34.95 (ISBN 0 644 45679 5).

* As set out in the 9th edition of the 'Antibiotic
guidelines', indications for which a trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole combination is the preferred treatment are:

  • Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia
  • Nocardiosis
  • Melioidosis (as an alternative to doxycycline, in combination with ceftazidime)
  • Brucellosis (in children under 8 years old, in combination with rifampicin or gentamicin)