GPs slash RTI antibiotic scrips by more than 30 per cent

GPs are prescribing fewer antibiotics for acute respiratory tract infections (RTIs), responding to concerns that over-prescribing could lead to cases of antibiotic resistance, UK research suggests.

Current NICE guidance recommends that GPs limit their use of antibiotics by adopting a system of delayed antibiotic prescribing.

For this latest study, researchers analysed data on antibiotic prescribing from a sample of 100,000 patients registered with 78 practices in the UK General Practice Research Database.

Medical records were searched for GP consultations for RTIs taking place over a period of 10 years.

Overall, the researchers found that the rate of antibiotic prescribing for RTIs declined by about 36 per cent in women patients and by 32 per cent in men over the course of the study.

There was also some evidence of a decrease in antibiotic prescribing for influenza in females and otitis media in males.

But no decrease in antibiotic prescribing was found among patients with acute bronchitis or chest infection.

The researchers, led by Professor Martin Gulliford from King's College, London, added that the study is one of the first to report on gender differences in antibiotic prescribing for RTIs, with women prescribed 30-50 per cent more antibiotics for RTIs than men.

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