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Antimicrobial stewardship

More than half of care home residents prescribed at least one antibiotic in a year, Boots study finds

A study led by Boots UK has found that more than half of older people living in long-term care are prescribed at least one antibiotic per year, and that more than a quarter are prescribed at least two antibiotics over the same period.

Older woman taking pill

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Pharmacists can help optimise antibiotic use in the older population and minimise the risk of antimicrobial resistance and treatment failure, the researchers said

More than half of older people living in care homes were prescribed at least one antibiotic over a year, a study led by Boots UK has found.

The retrospective longitudinal cohort study, which extracted data from Boots’s database of prescriptions dispensed for older people in the UK living in long-term care facilities over 12 months LTCFs from November 2016 to October 2017, found that, of the 341,536 residents, 52.1% were prescribed at least one antibiotic.

They also found that over a quarter (27.5%) of these residents were dispensed two different antibiotics during the 12-month period and 2.4% of residents were dispensed between five and ten different antibiotics.

The researchers said that the findings suggested an opportunity for pharmacisits to help optimise antibiotic use in the population and minimise the risk of antimicrobial resistance and treatment failure.

“Pharmacists have a role in supporting the safe and effective use of medicines in long-term care facilities, including promoting self-care (through homely remedy policies), helping carers to identify and deal with early signs of deterioration and, when antibiotics are prescribed, providing advice on whether they are appropriate (in line with local guidelines) and to support them being used effectively,” the researchers wrote in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.

Marc Donovan, chief pharmacist at Boots UK, said: “This research highlights that there is a real opportunity for community pharmacy to play an even greater role in supporting the safe and effective use of medicines, and continue to support the implementation and delivery of the government’s five-year action plan on antimicrobial resistance”.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206081

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