• What out-of-hours antibiotic prescribing practices are contributing to antibiotic resistance: a literature review

      Hart, Jasmine; Phillips, Peter (2020-03-01)
      Abstract published with permission. Background: Overuse of antibiotics and inappropriate prescribing has resulted in a rapid increase in the rate of antibiotic resistance, with poorer patient outcomes and increased health costs. In the out-of-hours setting, a high proportion of antibiotics are prescribed and practices need to improve to reduce antibiotic resistance. Purpose: To identify antibiotic prescribing practices in European out-of-hours primary care services that are contributing to antibiotic resistance. Design: The review was conducted in alignment with the PRISMA statement (Moher, Liberati, Tetzlaff, Altman, & PRISMA Group, 2009). Methods: A literature search was performed using MySearch to identify European literature. The search was focused on antibiotic/antimicrobial prescribing in an out-of-hours environment, and any reports that described factors correlating with the nature of prescribing practices were examined. Results: The literature search located 91 articles, out of which seven met the inclusion criteria. Two articles described clinicians’ experiences in antibiotic prescribing in out-of-hours, two compared in-office and after-hours prescribing, two described prescribing patterns in out-of-hours and one examined prescribing in children. Four main themes were identified: antibiotics prescribed and conditions associated with prescribing; consultation time; the day of consultation; and parental opinion. Conclusion: Overprescribing to self-limiting conditions, prescribing of broad-spectrum antibiotics, time constraints, safeguarding issues and poor communication are all contributing to inappropriate antibiotic prescribing. Further research is needed relating to whether clinicians are adhering to antibiotic guidelines and to explore patients’ experiences and expectations from the out-of-hours practitioners with respect to antibiotic prescribing.