Though general antibiotic consumption data is available, information on the actual patterns of prescribing antibiotics locally is difficult to obtain. An easy to use methodology was designed to assess ambulatory management of infections by Latvian general practitioners (GPs).
GPs were asked to record data in a patient data collection form for every patient that received antibiotics. Study period – (7 days) one week in November, 2008. Data recorded included the following details: an antibiotic, the prescribed dose, dosing interval, route of administration combined with the demographic factors of the patient and clinical diagnosis based on a pre-defined list.
Two hundred forty eight forms out of the 600 (41%) were returned by post. Antibiotics were prescribed in 6.4% (1711/26803) of outpatient consultations. In total, 1763 antibiotics were prescribed during the study period. Ninety seven percent of the patients received monotherapy and only 47 (2.7%) patients were prescribed two antibiotics. The most commonly prescribed antibiotics were amoxicillin (33.9% of prescribed), amoxicillin/clavulanate (18,7%) and clarithromycin (7.6%). The most commonly treated indications were pharyngitis (29.8%), acute bronchitis (25.3%) and rhinosinusitis (10.2%). Pneumonia was mostly treated with amoxicillin/clavulanate (25,7%), amoxicillin (15.7%) and clarithromycin (19.3%).
Methodology employed provided useful additional information on ambulatory practice of prescribing antibiotics and could be used in further assessment studies. Educational interventions should be focused on treatment of acute pharyngitis and bronchitis in children and unnecessary use of quinolones in adults for uncomplicated urinary tract infection.
Keywords: Antibiotic use, General practitioners, Treatment of infection