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Do we use antibiotics rationally?
  1. Antonio Clavenna
  1. Correspondence to Dr Antonio Clavenna, Laboratory for Mother and Child Health, Department of Public Health, IRCCS—Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche ‘Mario Negri’, via Giuseppe La Masa 19, Milan 20156, Italy; antonio.clavenna{at}

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Antibiotics represent the most prescribed therapeutic agents in childhood worldwide. The prevalence of antibiotic prescriptions differs across age, with preschool children being most exposed to antibiotic drugs.1

Quantitative and qualitative variability of antibiotic prescriptions exists between and within countries, both in hospitalised and in outpatient children.1 ,2

Few data are available concerning the pattern of antibiotic drug use in neonates. The most comprehensive study on this topic was performed within the framework of the ‘Antibiotic Resistance and Prescribing in European Children’ project. In a multinational point prevalence survey that involved a total of 73 hospitals in 23 countries, the overall percentage of hospitalised neonates treated with antibiotics was 28.4% (95% CI 26.3% to 30.5%), with a greater value reported in non-European (39.4%) versus European hospitals (22.8%). In Europe, the proportion of newborns receiving antibiotics ranged from 3% to 45% among neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). The rate was lower in level 2 (22%) and …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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