The overlooked issue of outpatient combination antibiotic prescribing in low- and middle-income countries: an example from Syria

Ana Tomas, Saleh Aljadeeah

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This study aimed to determine and describe the prevalence of combination antibiotics dispensed in outpatients with health insurance in Syria. Data on all dispensed medicines between June 2018 and May 2019 for 81,314 adults were obtained, and medicines belonging to the J01 group of the World Health Organization (WHO) anatomical therapeutic classification (ATC) were included in the analysis. Prescriptions were stratified according to the number of antibiotics, age, and sex. Antibiotic utilization was expressed as the number of prescriptions per 1000 persons per year. Out of 59,404 prescriptions for antibiotics, 14.98% contained antibiotic combinations, distributed to 22.49% of the patients. The prevalence of dispensing antibiotic combinations was higher in female patients (23.00%), and the youngest (18-30 years, 26.19%) and oldest age groups (>70 years, 25.19%). The antibiotics most commonly combined were co-amoxiclav, second- and third-generation cephalosporins, and macrolides. Over 60% of the combinations contained ceftriaxone alone or in combination with sulbactam. The present study shows an alarmingly widespread prescription of antibiotic combinations, posing a risk to global health by promoting resistance development.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)74
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

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