Monday, August 24, 2015

" 9 out of 10 GPs say they feel pressured to prescribe antibiotics": NICE, UK

Contributed by" Dr. Tamhankar and Siddarth David

On August 18, 2015, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the UK released its first guidelines on antimicrobial stewardship "Antimicrobial stewardship: systems and processes for effective antimicrobial medicine use". The NICE is the statutory body in the UK that provides national guidance and advice to improve health and social care.

The Guidelines are designed to promote judicious antibiotic use by reviewing prescribing and resistance data and providing feedback, education and training to prescribers. The NICE reports that " 9 out of 10 GPs say they feel pressured to prescribe antibiotics, and 97% of patients who ask for antibiotics are prescribed antibiotics”. The Guidelines have been aimed at health practitioners, pharmacists, nurses and provider organisations.

The current edition of the Lancet has an editorial on the strengths and weaknesses of the Guidelines. The NICE guidelines are pioneering antibiotic stewardship in the UK, which is particularly significant given that the UK lags way behind countries like Sweden and Norway in implementing policies to address antibiotic resistance. The NICE Guidelines are a welcome step to global measures on antibiotic stewardship and hopefully would push other countries to take notice and follow with their own guidelines.

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