J Antimicrob Chemother. 2021 Jul 5:dkab205. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkab205. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: On 1 November 2018, Choosing Wisely Canada launched their Using Antibiotics Wisely primary care campaign, which aimed to reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions for respiratory tract infections (RTIs) through educational tools for patients and providers.
OBJECTIVES: We explored the impact of this campaign on antibiotic utilization in Canada.
METHODS: We conducted a population-based study in Canada between January 2015 and December 2019. We used interventional autoregressive integrated moving average models to study the impact of the Using Antibiotics Wisely campaign on the prescribing rate (prescriptions per 1000 population) of RTI-indicated antibiotics. We analysed prescription rates overall and stratified by age group, drug class and province, in each month over the study period.
RESULTS: There was a 1.5% reduction in the annual prescribing rate of RTI-indicated antibiotics over the study period, which was generally consistent across age groups and provinces. Following the 2018 Using Antibiotics Wisely clinician toolkit release, we observed no significant change in RTI-indicated antibiotic prescribing rates nationally (P = 0.13). This was consistent by age group (children, P = 0.91; adults, P = 0.58; and older adults, P = 0.67) and drug class (narrow-spectrum penicillins, P = 0.88; macrolides, P = 0.85; broad-spectrum penicillins, P = 0.60; cephalosporins, P = 0.45; tetracyclines, P = 0.55; and fluoroquinolones, P = 0.98). In our secondary analysis of prescription rates in provinces that self-identified as prioritizing Using Antibiotics Wisely, we observed no significant change following the launch of the campaign.
CONCLUSIONS: The introduction of the Using Antibiotics Wisely campaign in Canada has not caused a significant change in short-term antibiotic prescribing patterns. Community antibiotic stewardship campaigns that include components beyond education may be more impactful.