Antibiotics represent the most widely prescribed therapeutic agents. The prevalence of drug prescription differs across age, with preschool children being most exposed to antibiotic drugs, especially in the community setting. A review with the aim to compare the profile of antibiotic drug prescription at the multinational, national and regional levels was performed. This overview of drug-utilisation studies found quantitative and qualitative differences in the antibiotic prescription profile between and within countries. Moreover, differences exist also at the local level and between prescribers. In general, second-choice antibiotic drugs (eg, cephalosporins) were more commonly prescribed in settings characterised by a high prevalence of antibiotic prescription. Geographical differences should be taken into account when monitoring antimicrobial drug resistance and when planning educational interventions for health professionals and parents with the aim to improve the rational use of antibiotic drugs.
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Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.