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Use of antibiotics in paediatric primary care settings in Serbia
  1. Bojana Bozic1,
  2. Milica Bajcetic1,2
  1. 1Department of Pharmacology, Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, School of Medicine, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia
  2. 2Clinical Pharmacology Unit, University Children's Hospital, Belgrade, Serbia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Bojana Bozic, Department of Pharmacology, Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, School of Medicine, University of Belgrade, P.O. Box 38, Belgrade 11129, Serbia; bojanabozic87{at}


Objective The aim of the study was to compare the quality of antibiotic use among children in primary settings with the internationally developed disease-specific quality indicators and with National Guidelines.

Design Prescriptions of systemic antibiotics to the paediatric population (<18 years) at the primary level of healthcare for the period between 2011 and 2013 were analysed by using the National Health Insurance Fund's outpatient reimbursement database.

Results The mean annual number of antibiotic prescriptions was 1.887.615, while the mean annual number of children receiving antibiotics was 728.285. The prescription rate slightly decreased by 10% from 1.516 antibiotic prescriptions per 1000 persons per year in 2011 to 1.365 in 2013. The highest percentage of prescribed antibiotics was observed in the group of children aged 2–23 months. The mean annual prevalence of antibiotic prescriptions was 54%. The percentage of patients prescribed an antibiotic for acute upper respiratory tract infections, acute tonsillitis and acute otitis media (AOM) was above the proposed range (≤20), 87% –96%. These three diagnoses represent more than 69% of all indications for prescribing antibiotics. The percentage of patients prescribed a recommended antibiotic was below the proposed range (≥80%), 1% –17%, while the adherence rate to National Guidelines was low, 19%–28%. The percentage of patients prescribed quinolones was above the proposed range for AOM (≤5%), 7%. There were no significant differences in indicators value at the regional level in Serbia.

Conclusions Antibiotic use among children in Serbia is extremely high compared with that in most other European countries. Major problems are frequent use of antibiotics for indications that usually receive no benefit from this treatment and the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics.

  • Paediatric Practice
  • Qualitative research

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