WEDNESDAY, June 17, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Antibiotic prescription rates are high in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), with a pooled prevalence proportion of antibiotic prescribing of 52 percent, according to a review published online June 16 in PLOS Medicine.

Giorgia Sulis, M.D., from McGill University in Montreal, and colleagues estimated the prevalence of antibiotic prescriptions and proportion of such prescriptions that are inappropriate in LMIC. Data were included from studies conducted in LMICs that reported data on medicine use in primary care. A total of 48 studies were identified from 27 LMICs, which were mainly conducted in the public sector and urban areas.

The researchers found that the pooled prevalence proportion of antibiotic prescribing was 52 percent, with a 95 percent prediction interval ranging from 44 to 60 percent. Across settings, individual study estimates were consistent. Rationality was assessed in only nine studies, and the proportion of inappropriate prescriptions ranged from 8 to 100 percent among patients with various conditions. Access-group antibiotics accounted for more than 60 percent of the total in 12 countries among 16 studies in 15 countries that reported details on prescribed antibiotics. Most studies included insufficient details to assess prescription appropriateness.

“The inappropriate use of antibiotics comes with serious risks to patients and communities in terms of toxicity, adverse events, and selection of resistant microorganisms,” Sulis said in a statement. “For this reason, a better evaluation of the patterns of inappropriate antibiotic prescribing is critical.”

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