Non-prudent use of antibiotics has several aspects such as over-use because of the prescription of antibiotics for diagnoses where they are not indicated. Moreover, self-medication with antibiotics can be considered as non-prudent use; for example, when it is delivered as over-the-counter without knowing the diagnosis or when a citizen uses leftover antibiotics.
7% of antibiotics in the EU are taken without a prescription
A study published on antimicrobial resistance and the causes of non-prudent use of antibiotics carried out by Nivel (NL) as part of the EU-funded project ARNA (Antimicrobial resistance and the causes of non-prudent use of antibiotics), estimates that 7% of antibiotics taken in the EU are taken without a prescription.
The ARNA project aimed to:
- Identify key factors that drive the sales and non-prudent use of antibiotics in human medicine obtained without a prescription
- Assess the level of enforcement of the legislation regarding ‘prescription-only’ use of antimicrobial agents in the EU
- Document good practices aimed at strengthening more prudent use of antibiotics
- Develop policy options for more prudent use of antibiotics
Interventions on a healthcare-system level suggested at country-dialogue meetings included many promoting the use of rapid diagnostics to promote prudent use of antibiotics:
- Stimulate the use of point-of-care tests and differentiate between different infections
- Put the test on the shelves of the pharmacists or provide it through the government
- Increase the availability of rapid bacterial infection tests, stimulate its use and reassure parents of children
- Give legal character to rapid tests
Read the full report here: https://ec.europa.eu/health/amr/sites/amr/files/amr_arna_report_20170717_en.pdf [pdf 4MB]