BACKGROUND: This study was conducted to assess the variation in prescription practices for systemic antimicrobial agents used for prophylaxis among pediatric patients hospitalized in 41 countries worldwide. METHODS: Using the standardized Antibiotic Resistance and Prescribing in European Children Point Prevalence Survey protocol, a cross-sectional point-prevalence survey was conducted at 226 pediatric hospitals in 41 countries from October 1 to November 30, 2012. RESULTS: Overall, 17693 pediatric patients were surveyed and 36.7% of them received antibiotics (n = 6499). Of 6818 inpatient children, 2242 (32.9%) received at least 1 antimicrobial for prophylactic use. Of 11899 prescriptions for antimicrobials, 3400 (28.6%) were provided for prophylactic use. Prophylaxis for medical diseases was the indication in 73.4% of cases (2495 of 3400), whereas 26.6% of prescriptions were for surgical diseases (905 of 3400). In approximately half the cases (48.7% [1656 of 3400]), a combination of 2 or more antimicrobials was prescribed. The use of broad-spectrum antibiotics (BSAs), which included tetracyclines, macrolides, lincosamides, and sulfonamides/trimethoprim, was high (51.8% [1761 of 3400]). Broad-spectrum antibiotic use for medical prophylaxis was more common in Asia (risk ratio [RR], 1.322; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.202-1.653) and more restricted in Australia (RR, 0.619; 95% CI, 0.521-0.736). Prescription of BSA for surgical prophylaxis also varied according to United Nations region. Finally, a high percentage of surgical patients (79.7% [721 of 905]) received their prophylaxis for longer than 1 day. CONCLUSIONS: A high proportion of hospitalized children received prophylactic BSAs. This represents a clear target for quality improvement. Collectively speaking, it is critical to reduce total prophylactic prescribing, BSA use, and prolonged prescription.
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