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Overuse highlighted on European Antibiotic Awareness Day

Dr Nuala O’Connor, GP lead on antibiotic resistance, ICGP, said it had drawn up comprehensive guidelines for GPs on antibiotic use,” designed to minimise the development of resistance with targeted prescribing depending on the clinical scenario.”

Dr O’Connor also noted that many people mistakenly believe they are allergic to penicillin and that they need to take more specialised antibiotics. However, she said “true penicillin allergy is uncommon and I would advise patients to check this out with their GP”.

Dr Fidelma Fitzpatrick, Senior Lecturer in Microbiology at RCSI and Consultant Microbiologist at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, warned that infections caused by many types of antibiotic resistant bacteria are increasing in Ireland. She said the onus is on prescribers to ensure antibiotics are used appropriately so their efficacy is preserved for future generations.

“As prescribers, it is vital that we apply a rational approach to antibiotic prescribing that maximises the likelihood of successfully treating infections, while minimising the risk of antibiotic resistance,” she said. “We need to ‘start smart’ and follow our hospital antibiotic guidelines. After one or two days of treating a patient with antibiotics we should consider changing the medication when we have microbiology results or indeed stopping it if it becomes clear that the patients does not have an infection.”

As part of the current information campaign, information leaflets and posters are being circulated to GPs and pharmacies nationwide, promoting www.undertheweather.ie

New updated guidelines on prudent antibiotic prescribing have been developed to help promote the safe and effective use of antibiotics by GPs and dentists.

The mobile guidelines – available at www.antibioticprescribing.ie – are tablet, smart phone and PC friendly and are a useful tool for health professionals.

In addition, online resources for GPs are available at www.hse.ie/antibiotics.

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