NPS MedicineWise educational programs have been associated with reduced monthly antibiotic dispensing volume, according to new research conducted by the not-for-profit organisation.
The research shows the dispensing of selected antibiotics commonly prescribed for upper respiratory tract infections has been reduced by 14%-19% between 2009 and 2015. Surveys have found that GPs who participated in the programs have changed their attitudes, prescribing behaviour and advice to patients.
GPs who actively participated in NPS MedicineWise educational interventions, compared to GPs who did not, reported increases in:
- knowledge about antibiotic resistance (87% vs 64%)
- discussion of hand hygiene with patients (90% vs 82%), and
- guideline use (96% vs 88%).
Dr Lynn Weekes says this shows GPs are committed to the judicious use of antibiotics, and with appropriate tools, are helping to reduce antimicrobial resistance.
These results were recently presented at the GP17 conference in Sydney and have been released as part of World Antibiotic Awareness Week (13-19 November), indicating GPs have responded positively to national antibiotic resistance education programs, with reduced prescribing in primary care.
“Antibiotic resistance is a serious public health threat with far-reaching consequences," Dr Weekes says.
“The 2016 AURA report highlights there is still an inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics across all health settings, and more needs to be done to address the problem.
“GPs often feel pressured by their patients to prescribe antibiotics for URTIs. This is why it’s important to reach prescribers, as well as the community, about the issue. By reducing the demand for unnecessary antibiotics, we can reduce the number of avoidable prescriptions.”
Dr Weekes also notes the World Health Organization has declared antibiotic resistance to be one of the greatest threats to human health today.
“While progress has been made, the fight against antibiotic resistance is far from over. Ongoing strategies to reach GPs and consumers are vital in order to sustain continual reductions in antibiotic use. We need to keep working hard to reduce antibiotic resistance," Dr Weekes adds.
Jonathan Abbott: 0419 618 365 or [email protected]
Independent, evidence-based and not-for-profit, NPS MedicineWise enables better decisions about medicines and medical tests. We receive funding from the Australian Government Department of Health.