-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Sept. 13 (HealthDay News) -- A local, low-cost
information campaign that was primarily aimed at patients --
although involving doctors and pharmacists as well -- helped reduce
antibiotic prescribing, according to a new study from Italy.
Overuse of antibiotics is considered a major global public
health concern because it can lead to the development of
antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Unnecessary and inappropriate
prescribing of antibiotics is common.
This study, published Sept. 12 on
BMJ.com, looked at an antibiotic education campaign
implemented by local health officials in the provinces of Modena
and Parma in 2011 to 2012. Nearby provinces where no such campaigns
were implemented acted as a control group.
Italy has one of the highest levels of antibiotic use in Europe,
according to a journal news release.
The campaign was designed to inform the general population that
antibiotics are necessary in certain circumstances, are not
effective against colds and the flu, and should be used when
doctors prescribe them. The campaign motto was "Antibiotics,
solution or problem?"
The information was presented in posters, brochures, videos in
areas such as pharmacies and waiting rooms, two episodes of TV talk
shows, radio segments, newspaper ads, websites, and newsletters on
antibiotic resistance sent to doctors.
Over five months, the average outpatient prescribing rates for
antibiotics fell nearly 12 percent in the provinces with the
campaign, about 7 percent in the control group provinces and about
3 percent in the rest of Italy, the study found.
The findings show the effectiveness of a local, small-scale
information campaign on antibiotic use, the researchers said.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about
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