Interventions to improve antibiotic prescribing in ambulatory care

University of Tennessee, Pediatrics, Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center, 50 N Dunlap St., Memphis, TN 38103, USA.
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (Impact Factor: 6.03). 02/2005; 19(4):CD003539. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003539.pub2
Source: PubMed


The development of resistance to antibiotics by many important human pathogens has been linked to exposure to antibiotics over time. The misuse of antibiotics for viral infections (for which they are of no value) and the excessive use of broad spectrum antibiotics in place of narrower spectrum antibiotics have been well-documented throughout the world. Many studies have helped to elucidate the reasons physicians use antibiotics inappropriately.
To systematically review the literature to estimate the effectiveness of professional interventions, alone or in combination, in improving the selection, dose and treatment duration of antibiotics prescribed by healthcare providers in the outpatient setting; and to evaluate the impact of these interventions on reducing the incidence of antimicrobial resistant pathogens.
We searched the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care Group (EPOC) specialized register for studies relating to antibiotic prescribing and ambulatory care. Additional studies were obtained from the bibliographies of retrieved articles, the Scientific Citation Index and personal files.
We included all randomised and quasi-randomised controlled trials (RCT and QRCT), controlled before and after studies (CBA) and interrupted time series (ITS) studies of healthcare consumers or healthcare professionals who provide primary care in the outpatient setting. Interventions included any professional intervention, as defined by EPOC, or a patient-based intervention.
Two review authors independently extracted data and assessed study quality.
Thirty-nine studies examined the effect of printed educational materials for physicians, audit and feedback, educational meetings, educational outreach visits, financial and healthcare system changes, physician reminders, patient-based interventions and multi-faceted interventions. These interventions addressed the overuse of antibiotics for viral infections, the choice of antibiotic for bacterial infections such as streptococcal pharyngitis and urinary tract infection, and the duration of use of antibiotics for conditions such as acute otitis media. Use of printed educational materials or audit and feedback alone resulted in no or only small changes in prescribing. The exception was a study documenting a sustained reduction in macrolide use in Finland following the publication of a warning against their use for group A streptococcal infections. Interactive educational meetings appeared to be more effective than didactic lectures. Educational outreach visits and physician reminders produced mixed results. Patient-based interventions, particularly the use of delayed prescriptions for infections for which antibiotics were not immediately indicated effectively reduced antibiotic use by patients and did not result in excess morbidity. Multi-faceted interventions combining physician, patient and public education in a variety of venues and formats were the most successful in reducing antibiotic prescribing for inappropriate indications. Only one of four studies demonstrated a sustained reduction in the incidence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria associated with the intervention.
The effectiveness of an intervention on antibiotic prescribing depends to a large degree on the particular prescribing behaviour and the barriers to change in the particular community. No single intervention can be recommended for all behaviours in any setting. Multi-faceted interventions where educational interventions occur on many levels may be successfully applied to communities after addressing local barriers to change. These were the only interventions with effect sizes of sufficient magnitude to potentially reduce the incidence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Future research should focus on which elements of these interventions are the most effective. In addition, patient-based interventions and physician reminders show promise and innovative methods such as these deserve further study.

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    • "However, in another report, there was no improvement in antibiotic use after the national antibiotic campaign [52]. Systematic reviews showed that multifaceted interventions involving both physicians (active education through seminars and visits) and the public/patients (through written material and mass media) seem moderately more effective than single interventions, in decreasing unnecessary antibiotic use [53] [54]. These reports suggest that public campaign through written material and mass media could be more effective if physicians facilitate the transmission of information about antibiotic use to the public including patients [55]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Widespread antimicrobial use and concomitant resistance have led to a significant threat to public health. Because inappropriate use and overuse of antibiotics based on insufficient knowledge are one of the major drivers of antibiotic resistance, education about prudent antibiotic use aimed at both the prescribers and the public is important. This review investigates recent studies on the effect of interventions for promoting prudent antibiotics prescribing. Up to now, most educational efforts have been targeted to medical professionals, and many studies showed that these educational efforts are significantly effective in reducing antibiotic prescribing. Recently, the development of educational programs to reduce antibiotic use is expanding into other groups, such as the adult public and children. The investigation of the contents of educational programs for prescribers and the public demonstrates that it is important to develop effective educational programs suitable for each group. In particular, it seems now to be crucial to develop appropriate curricula for teaching medical and nonmedical (pharmacy, dentistry, nursing, veterinary medicine, and midwifery) undergraduate students about general medicine, microbial virulence, mechanism of antibiotic resistance, and judicious antibiotic prescribing.
    05/2015; 2015:1-13. DOI:10.1155/2015/214021
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    • "Interventions targeting a single aspect affecting antibiotic use have in the majority of cases failed to achieve significant changes in antibiotic consumption. Multifaceted interventions are usually more successful but also more costly and organizationally challenging [10]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Antibiotic resistance, a major public health problem, has been linked to antibiotic consumption. In Greece both consumption and resistance rates are among the highest in Europe. A multifaceted campaign targeting both physicians and parents of school children was implemented for the first time in order to educate the public and update doctors, aiming to promote judicious use of antibiotics and hopefully decrease its consumption. The programme consisted of a public education campaign and academic detailing of primary care physicians in the district of Corinth in Peloponnese. The experience and perceptions of parents were recorded in the meetings in the form of course evaluation and assessment, anonymous questionnaires. The use of Rapid Antigen Detection Test (RADT) for streptococcal pharyngitis by primary care physicians was also assessed by use of anonymous questionnaires. Antibiotic consumption was compared before and after the programme between the district of Corinth and the other districts of Peloponnese, as well as at a national level. Antibiotic consumption remained unaltered at 26 Defined daily doses per 1000 Inhabitants per Day (DID) in accordance with the trend in other regions and at a national level. However, the utilization of Amoxycillin and Penicillin was increased by 34.3%, while the use of other antimicrobial classes including macrolides, cephalosporins and fluoroquinolones decreased by 6.4-21.9%. The use of RADT did not lead to a significantly decreased antimicrobial consumption. A multifaceted educational programme targeting both the general public and primary care physicians was associated with rationalization in the choice of antimicrobial. A reduction in the total antimicrobial consumption was not achieved.
    BMC Public Health 08/2014; 14(1):866. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-14-866 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    • "Recent randomized controlled trials have evaluated multifaceted interventions43,44 with positive effects on reducing antibiotic prescribing rates. However, few studies have been sufficiently powered, designed, or tested interventions with sufficient effect sizes to show an impact on AMR.42 "
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    ABSTRACT: Antimicrobials are an extremely valuable resource across the spectrum of modern medicine. Their development has been associated with dramatic reductions in communicable disease mortality and has facilitated technological advances in cancer therapy, transplantation, and surgery. However, this resource is threatened by the dwindling supply of new antimicrobials and the global increase in antimicrobial resistance. There is an urgent need for antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) to protect our remaining antimicrobials for future generations. AMS emphasizes sensible, appropriate antimicrobial management for the benefit of the individual and society as a whole. Within the English National Health Service (NHS), a series of recent policy initiatives have focused on all aspects of AMS, including best practice guidelines for antimicrobial prescribing, enhanced surveillance mechanisms for monitoring antimicrobial use across primary and secondary care, and new prescribing competencies for doctors in training. Here we provide a concise summary to clarify the current position and importance of AMS within the NHS and review the evidence base for AMS recommendations. The evidence supports the impact of AMS strategies on modifying prescribing practice in hospitals, with beneficial effects on both antimicrobial resistance and the incidence of Clostridium difficile, and no evidence of increased sepsis-related mortality. There is also a promising role for novel diagnostic technologies in AMS, both in enhancing microbiological diagnosis and improving the specificity of sepsis diagnosis. More work is needed to establish an evidence base for interventions to improve public and patient education regarding the role of antibiotics in common clinical syndromes, such as respiratory tract infection. Future priorities include establishing novel approaches to antimicrobial management (eg, duration of therapy, combination regimens) to protect against resistance and working with the pharmaceutical industry to promote the development of new antimicrobials.
    Infection and Drug Resistance 05/2014; 7:145-152. DOI:10.2147/IDR.S39185
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Sandra R Arnold