Antibiotic prescribing and expenditures in outpatient paediatrics in Greece, 2010-13

Kourlaba G, Kourkouni E, Spyridis N, Gerber JS, Kopsidas J, Mougkou K, Lourida A, Zaoutis TE. J Antimicrob Chemother.

2015 Aug;70(8):2405-8. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkv091. Epub 2015 Apr 16.

OBJECTIVES: The objectives of this study were to provide a nationally representative analysis of antibiotic prescribing in outpatient paediatrics and to assess overall and class-specific antibiotic costs in Greece.

METHODS: Data on antibiotic prescriptions for patients aged ≤19 years old between July 2010 and June 2013 in Greece were extracted from the IMS Health Xponent database. Antibiotics were grouped into narrow- and broad-spectrum agents. The number of prescribed antibiotics and census denominators were used to calculate prescribing rates. The total costs associated with prescribed antibiotics were calculated.

RESULTS: More than 7 million antibiotics were prescribed during the study period, with an annual rate of 1100 antibiotics/1000 persons. Prescribing rates were higher among children aged <10 years old. Acute respiratory tract infections (ARTIs) accounted for 80% of prescribed antibiotics, with acute otitis media (22.3%), acute tonsillitis (19.5%) and acute bronchitis/bronchiolitis (13.9%) being the most common clinical diagnoses. Cephalosporins (32.9%), penicillins (32.3%) and macrolides (32.1%) were the most commonly prescribed antibiotic classes. The majority (90.4%) of antibiotics were broad spectrum. Antibiotic expenditures totalled ∼€50 million.

CONCLUSIONS: Broad-spectrum antibiotic prescribing is common in outpatient paediatric patients. These data provide important targets to inform the development of an outpatient antimicrobial stewardship programme targeting specific practices, providers and conditions.