The fight against overuse of antibiotics gathers pace

Despite universal agreement that the prescribing of antibiotics should be reduced, 9 out of 10 GPs say they feel pressured to prescribe them, and 97 per cent of patients who ask for antibiotics get them.

In another bid to reduce inappropriate use, the government’s medicines watchdog, NICE, has published guidance for GPs on the sensible use of antibiotics.

Are we all part of the solution or part of the problem?

Some 10 million prescriptions a year in England for antibiotics are ‘inappropriate’, said NICE’s Professor Mark Baker, who suggested that over prescribing doctors might need to be disciplined.

But he also said it is not just doctors who are at fault. “It’s often patients themselves who, because they don’t understand that their condition will clear up by itself, or that perhaps antimicrobials aren’t effective in treating it, may put pressure on their doctor to prescribe an antibiotic when it is not indicated.”

NICE will be ‘educating the public’ so expect to hear more on this topic – not least from your local pharmacy.