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Doctors in Saarland prescribe most antibiotics
Antibiotics are often the treatment of choice for fever, cold or tonsillitis. Despite warnings of a steadily growing number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the general-purpose medical weapon is particularly popular with general practitioners. However, according to the current Antibiotic Atlas, there are clear regional differences. For example, most antibiotics are prescribed in the state of Saarland. Scientists are still researching the causes of the unequal distribution of regulations.
Antibiotics do not help with viral diseases Often, patients urge their doctor to prescribe an antibiotic. Because the remedy is generally considered a "miracle weapon" against persistent colds, cystitis and much more. Often, however, colds are not bacterial but viral infections where antibiotics are ineffective because viruses are the cause of the disease. Even doctors assume that there are mild antibiotics, as a small survey among doctors recently revealed at a specialist congress.
Nevertheless, antibiotics are among the most prescribed drugs in Germany. Experts have been warning against the inappropriate use of penicillin & Co. for some time, because more and more bacteria with antibiotic resistance are appearing, in which the active ingredients have become useless.
The Central Institute for Statutory Health Insurance Care (ZI) has examined how often antibiotics are prescribed by doctors, thereby establishing a regional relationship. In 2010, around 22 million people received a prescription for the medicine. Most antibiotics were prescribed on an outpatient basis in the oldest patient group (56 percent of those over the age of 90) and for the youngest patients (39 percent of those under the age of 15). Striking result of the analysis: Most antibiotics are issued by general practitioners with almost 53 percent of the antibiotic prescriptions. Internists who work in primary care as well as children and ENT doctors prescribe many antibiotics, but - with less than ten percent of the prescriptions - prescribe the supposed all-purpose weapon much less frequently than general practitioners.
The evaluation was created using the nationwide drug prescription data. For the first time, according to the Central Institute for Statutory Health Insurance, the entire database of patients was evaluated for a study. All patients who received at least one antibiotic prescription in 2010 were taken into account.
Regional anomalies in antibiotic supply The study results reveal numerous anomalies. For example, more doctors in western Germany issued a prescription for an antibiotic drug than in the east. A lot of antibiotics were administered in the small area of Saarland. In 2010, more than one in three Saarlanders (37 percent) swallowed at least one pack of antibiotics. Rhineland-Palatinate and the regional association of Westphalia-Lippe are both in second place with 35 percent each.
However, doctors in the eastern German countries were much more reserved. The federal states of Brandenburg (25 percent) and Saxony (28 percent) put the bottom of the list when it came to antibiotics in Germany, even though, according to scientists, the rate was still too high.
Up to 50 percent of children supplied with antibiotics A second abnormality surprised the researchers. The regional differences changed again when it came to antibiotic prescriptions in children. In the patient group of under 15-year-olds, Saarland was again at the top, pediatricians also prescribed antibiotics for children in Thuringia, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Saxony-Anhalt. 50 percent of the young patients were treated with an antibiotic drug on an outpatient basis.
It remains unclear how these regional differences come about. "We suspect that patient expectations and doctors' attitudes towards antibiotic therapy are important factors," says Dominik von Stillfried, CEO of the ZI. The institute now wants to carry out further research to analyze the regional differences. For this purpose, the data on the frequency of the diagnoses should now also be included and evaluated.
One study found that doctors often prescribed antibiotics unnecessarily. even simple infections cannot be treated in the future. The infection specialist Dr. Alexander Friedrich of the Münster University Clinic fears that in future simple infections will no longer be able to be treated because the remedies no longer work. (ag)
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