Rates of antibiotic prescribing in Scotland are falling, according to a report from Health Protection Scotland (HPS) that reveals a decrease of 6.5% in the number of prescriptions for antibacterials in 2013–2014.
This contrasts with the situation in England, where prescribing of antibiotics rose by 6% between 2010 and 2013 (
The Pharmaceutical Journal 2014;293:416).
Although the periods under review are not equivalent, the data suggest that efforts in Scotland to reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescribing are proving successful, says HPS. It produced the report together with the Scottish NHS’s Information Services Division on behalf of the Scottish Antimicrobial Prescribing Group (SAPG).
The Scottish report also reveals that the prescribing of broad spectrum antibiotics, which are associated with a higher risk of Clostridium difficile infection, fell by 11.6% in 2013–2014.
Despite the overall reduction, nurse prescribing and dentist prescribing of antibiotics increased by 0.5% and 0.1%, respectively. Their prescribing represented 12.9% of the total.
Andrew Seaton, SAPG vice-chairman, described the report as “encouraging”. “Antibiotic resistance remains a serious threat to global health. It is essential that we all continue to do our best to reduce unnecessary use of antibiotics.”