Evaluating antimicrobial prescribing practice in Australian remote primary healthcare clinics

Infect Dis Health. 2021 Mar 17:S2468-0451(21)00005-5. doi: 10.1016/j.idh.2021.02.001. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Inappropriate antimicrobial prescribing contributes to the emergence of antimicrobial resistance. Gaps exist in the understanding of antimicrobial prescribing in the remote setting. We aimed to assess adherence to guidelines and appropriateness of antimicrobial prescribing in Central Australia.

METHODS: A retrospective study assessing antimicrobial prescriptions in ten Aboriginal clinics (three in remote communities and seven in regional centre) using a validated evaluation tool. Antimicrobials prescribed between 1 January-31 December 2018 were randomly selected for inclusion into the study. The main outcome measures were the rates of guideline adherence and inappropriate prescribing.

RESULTS: A total of 180 prescriptions were included (96.1% Aboriginal, 32.2% male). Ninety-nine (55.0%) prescriptions were written by general practitioners (GPs), 57 (31.7%) by nurses and 24 (13.3%) by others. Forty-three (25.7%) assessable prescriptions were deemed inappropriate and 75 (44.4%) did not adhere to guidelines. Prescriptions written by GPs were less likely to adhere to guidelines, particularly GPs located in remote communities. The most common reasons for inappropriate prescribing were incorrect dosage/frequency and antimicrobial not indicated. Skin and soft-tissue infection was the commonest indication, with 29 of 41 (70.7%) prescriptions deemed appropriate. Prescriptions for lower respiratory-tract infection had the lowest rate of appropriateness, with one of seven prescriptions deemed appropriate (14.3%). Antimicrobials with the lowest rate of appropriateness were ciprofloxacin, amoxicillin-clavulanate and cefalexin, at 50%, 56%, and 62%, respectively.

CONCLUSION: A quarter of antimicrobial prescriptions written in select remote central Australian Aboriginal primary healthcare clinics were deemed inappropriate. The implementation of a comprehensive antimicrobial stewardship program is recommended.

PMID:33744202 | DOI:10.1016/j.idh.2021.02.001