High rates of prescribing antimicrobials for prophylaxis in children and neonates: results from the antibiotic resistance and prescribing in European children point prevalence survey

Tags: | December 26th, 2018

Authors: Hufnagel M, Versporten A, Bielicki J, et al.; for ARPEC Project Group.

Published in: J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc. 2018. doi: 10.1093/jpids/piy019.

Background This study was conducted to assess the variation in prescription practices for systemic antimicrobial agents used for prophylaxis among pediatric patients hospitalized in 41 countries worldwide.

Methods Using the standardized Antibiotic Resistance and Prescribing inEuropean Children Point Prevalence Survey protocol, a cross-sectional point-prevalence survey was conducted at 226 pediatric hospitals in 41 countries from October 1 to November 30, 2012.

Results Overall, 17693 pediatric patients were surveyed and 36.7% of them received antibiotics (n = 6499). Of 6818 inpatient children, 2242 (32.9%) received at least 1 antimicrobial for prophylactic use. Of 11899 prescriptions for antimicrobials, 3400 (28.6%) were provided for prophylactic use. Prophylaxis for medical diseases was the indication in 73.4% of cases (2495 of 3400), whereas 26.6% of prescriptions were for surgical diseases (905 of 3400). In approximately half the cases (48.7% [1656 of 3400]), a combination of 2 or more antimicrobials was prescribed. The use of broad-spectrum antibiotics (BSAs), which included tetracyclines, macrolides, lincosamides, and sulfonamides/trimethoprim, was high (51.8% [1761 of 3400]). Broad-spectrum antibiotic use for medical prophylaxis was more common in Asia (risk ratio [RR], 1.322; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.202-1.653) and more restricted in Australia (RR, 0.619; 95% CI, 0.521-0.736). Prescription of BSA for surgical prophylaxis also varied according to United Nations region. Finally, a high percentage of surgical patients (79.7% [721 of 905]) received their prophylaxis for longer than 1 day.

Conclusions High proportion of hospitalized children received prophylactic BSAs. This represents a clear target for quality improvement. Collectively speaking, it is critical to reduce total prophylactic prescribing, BSA use, and prolonged prescription.


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