A study published in the Lancet Infection Diseases reveals levels of oral antibiotic consumption by young children globally. According to this study, children are too often being prescribed antibiotics that have been put on a list of treatments that should only be used cautiously because of fears of their impact to the increase of antimicrobial resistance. The study analyzed sales data of antibiotics from 70 middle-income and high-income countries in 2015. To determine the patterns of antibiotic use in each country, the researchers used three metrics based on the WHO's AWaRE classification (Access, Watch, and Reserve). Access antibiotics are used as first-line or second-line treatments for key infections and reserve antibiotics are the last-resort that should be used only for severe multidrug-resistant infections. The study found that overall the majority of countries primarily use “Access” antibiotics but China and India were among the countries with the lowest “Access” percentage and the highest “Watch” percentage. This is not in accordance with the WHO recommendations.
Young children have been identified as the highest group of users of antibiotics and increased antibiotic-resistant infections are a threat to global children’s health. The study described that at least two-thirds and up to 90% of outpatient antibiotic prescriptions in young children are for respiratory tract infections, which mostly do not require antibiotic treatment.
Point-of-care diagnostic tests are an essential part of the solution in tackling antimicrobial resistance by promoting more appropriate use of antibiotics and supporting physicians to reach the right diagnosis and correct treatment decision.
Link to study: https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/laninf/PIIS1473-3099(18)30547-4.pdf
Watch also the interview of MD, Pediatrician Ville Peltola on the www.tackleamr.com website, where he tells about antimicrobial resistance among pediatric patients.