Antibiotic deprescribing: Spanish general practitioners' views on a new strategy to reduce inappropriate use of antibiotics in primary care

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BACKGROUND: A doctor may recommend that a patient stop an antibiotic course before its scheduled completion time if further treatment may cause more harm than benefit.

OBJECTIVES: This study explores general practitioners' (GP) opinions about the use of antibiotic deprescribing (AD) in general practice.

METHODS: A cross-sectional, questionnaire-based study answered from February to March 2022. GPs (n = 6,083) affiliated with the largest Spanish scientific society of primary care were invited to participate. The survey included two statements related to use and fourteen views about AD rated by GPs using a 5-item Likert scale.

RESULTS: Eleven hundred and seven doctors completed the surveys (18.2%), of whom 92.5% (95% confidence interval [CI] 90.8-94%) reported having used the AD strategy in their practice at least once. GPs felt very confident in using a deprescribing strategy in patients with common cold and influenza (97.6% and 93.5%, respectively) but less with acute bronchitis (45.5%); 12.1% (95% CI, 10.2-14.2%) considered this practice harmful to patients. Respondents reported using AD more frequently when they initiated the antibiotic course (96.8%; 95% CI, 95.5-97.7) than when the treatment was initiated by another doctor (52.3%; 95% CI, 49.3-55.3%). However, doctors aged >60 years were more prone to use AD compared with younger colleagues (64.5% vs. 50%; p < 0.005).

CONCLUSION: The GPs in this study employ the strategy of AD. Nonetheless, essential differences lie in their views of the way the strategy is used. Further studies are warranted to explore the beliefs behind these perceptions and promote wider use of AD by GPs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe European Journal of General Practice
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)217-223
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

    Research areas

  • Humans, General Practitioners, Anti-Bacterial Agents/adverse effects, Deprescriptions, Cross-Sectional Studies, Surveys and Questionnaires, Primary Health Care, Attitude of Health Personnel

ID: 324526525