Irrational Prescribing of Antibiotics in Pediatric Outpatients: A Need for Change
Background and Aims: Antibiotics play a major role in the treatment of infectious diseases and are among the drugs most commonly prescribed for children. Respiratory tract infections in pediatric patients are a common cause of antibiotic prescribing which increases morbidity, mortality, patient cost and the likelihood for emergence of antibiotics-resistant microorganisms. This study was undertaken to determine the proportion of common respiratory tract infections and to generate data on the extent of rational/irrational prescribing of antibiotics in patients attending the pediatric out-patient department. Material and Methods: retrospective study carried out during one year (January to December, 2013) in the pediatric out-patient department of the Clinical Center in Tetovo. Patients of either sex at age group between 1 week and 14 years who attended the pediatric out-patient department and were prescribed antibiotics for respiratory tract infections were included in the study. The data was compared against national guideline-based medicine, major antibiotic guidelines recommended by World Health Organization (WHO) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and cross-referenced against Cochrane studies. Results: Children aged >1 - â‰¤3 years received 49.6% of antibiotics. The most common prescribed antibiotics were penicillins (62.2%), followed by cephalosporins (32.5%). Sore throat (61.5%) was identified as the most common diagnosis. There was a significant relationship (r=0.234, p< 0.05) between diagnosis and antibiotic prescribing. Ninety two percent of pediatric patients with common cold, laryngitis, viral sore throat, acute otitis media and bronchitis were prescribed antibiotics irrationally, that represents a major deviation from the recommendations from the guidelines. High levels (90%) of antibiotic irrational prescribing were revealed in pediatric outpatients diagnosed with pneumonia. Conclusion: This study reinforces the need to implement strategies that promote rational use of antibiotics in respiratory tract infections in children and close monitoring of antibacterial use at national, regional and local level.
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