- In Australia, the antibiotic resistance crisis may be partly alleviated by reducing antibiotic use in general practice, which has relatively high prescribing rates — antibiotics are mostly prescribed for acute respiratory infections, for which they provide only minor benefits.
- Current surveillance is inadequate for monitoring community antibiotic resistance rates, prescribing rates by indication, and serious complications of acute respiratory infections (which antibiotic use earlier in the infection may have averted), making target setting difficult.
- Categories of interventions that may support general practitioners to reduce prescribing antibiotics are: regulatory (eg, changing the default to “no repeats” in electronic prescribing, changing the packaging of antibiotics to facilitate tailored amounts of antibiotics for the right indication and restricting access to prescribing selected antibiotics to conserve them), externally administered (eg, academic detailing and audit and feedback on total antibiotic use for individual GPs), interventions that GPs can individually implement (eg, delayed prescribing, shared decision making, public declarations in the practice about conserving antibiotics, and self-administered audit), supporting GPs’ access to near-patient diagnostic testing, and public awareness campaigns.
- Many unanswered clinical research questions remain, including research into optimal implementation methods.
- Reducing antibiotic use in Australian general practice will require a range of approaches (with various intervention categories), a sustained effort over many years and a commitment of appropriate resources and support.
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