Public health campaign associated with major reduction in antibiotic use

June 2, 2009

A national public health campaign in France was associated with a marked reduction of unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions, particularly in children, says new research published in this week's open-access journal PLoS Medicine. The campaign, "Antibiotiques c'est pas automatique" (Antibiotics are not automatic), ran from 2002 to 2007 during the winter months when viral respiratory infections mainly occur. The campaign included an educational campaign for healthcare workers, the promotion of rapid tests for diagnosis of streptococcal infections, and a public information campaign about viral respiratory infections and about antibiotic resistance.

The researchers, led by Didier Guillemot at INSERM and Institut Pasteur in Paris, France, report that compared to the preintervention period (2000), the total number of antibiotic prescriptions per 100 inhabitants, adjusted for frequency of flu-like symptoms during the winter season, declined by more than 25% over 5 years. The decline occurred in all 22 regions of France and affected all classes of antibiotic except quinolones, say the researchers. The greatest decrease was observed among young children aged 6󈝻 years.

The authors note that because this is an ecological analysis, they cannot conclude that the campaign actually caused the reduction in antibiotic use. Other factors that may have been responsible for the observed reduction could include other initiatives in France and Belgium at the same time, or the introduction of a vaccine against Streptococcus pneumoniae during the study period.

In a commentary on the article, Benedikt Huttner and Stephan Harbarth (uninvolved in the research) say that this study "provides the largest and most sophisticated analysis published thus far correlating a nationwide public campaign to decreased antibiotic use over an extended period of time." Because reducing antibiotic use to avoid antibiotic resistance is so important, they argue, more longitudinal and modeling research to evaluate the impact of public health strategies is needed.

More information: Sabuncu E, David J, Berne`de-Bauduin C, Pe´pin S, Leroy M, et al. (2009) Significant Reduction of Antibiotic Use in the Community after a Nationwide Campaign in France, 2002. PLoS Med 6(6): e1000084. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000084, medicine.plosjournals.org/perl … journal.pmed.1000084

Source: Public Library of Science (news : web)

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Sensor-equipped pill raises technological, ethical questions

November 17, 2017
The first drug with a sensor embedded in a pill that alerts doctors when patients have taken their medications was approved by the Food and Drug Administration, raiding issues involving privacy, cost, and whether patients ...

New painkillers reduce overdose risk

November 16, 2017
Scientists on the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have developed new opioid pain relievers that reduce pain on par with morphine but do not slow or stop breathing—the cause of opiate overdose.

Separating side effects could hold key for safer opioids

November 16, 2017
Opioid pain relievers can be extremely effective in relieving pain, but can carry a high risk of addiction and ultimately overdose when breathing is suppressed and stops. Scientists have discovered a way to separate these ...

US regulators approve first digital pill to track patients

November 14, 2017
U.S. regulators have approved the first drug with a sensor that alerts doctors when the medication has been taken, offering a new way of monitoring patients but also raising privacy concerns.

Introduction is different, but top medications for opioid addiction equally effective

November 14, 2017
With opioid addiction officially declared a public health emergency in the U.S., medical intervention to treat the illness is increasingly important in responding to the epidemic. Now, a new study concludes that two of the ...

Drugstore pain pills as effective as opioids in ER patients

November 7, 2017
Emergency rooms are where many patients are first introduced to powerful opioid painkillers, but what if doctors offered over-the-counter pills instead? A new study tested that approach on patients with broken bones and sprains ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.