Repeatable antibiotic prescriptions: an assessment of patient attitudes, knowledge and advice from health professionals
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Copyright © 2014 - Australasian Medical Journal
Background: Previous Australian research has identified that general practice software systems appear to be associated with an increase in repeatable antibiotic prescriptions. Such prescriptions potentially facilitate the use of antibiotics without medical consultation and may be inconsistent with attempts to promote prudent use of antimicrobials.Aims: We sought to assess knowledge and attitudes to antibiotics amongst patients presenting with a repeatable prescription; and the provision of supporting advice from healthcare professionals regarding use of these repeats.Method: Six community pharmacies across Tasmania invited patients presenting with a repeatable antibiotic prescription to participate in the study. Participants were asked to complete a questionnaire and return this to the research team in a pre-paid envelope.Results: Fifty-seven of 244 surveys were returned to the research team, representing a response rate of 23%. Regarding provision of advice on use of the repeat, 14 (25%) of respondents stated that they were given no advice by the prescriber and 19 (30%) no advice from the pharmacist. Five (9%) were given no advice from either prescriber or pharmacist. One-third of respondents indicated that they would keep the repeat for future use and around three-quarters perceived no major safety concerns with antibiotics.Conclusion: Further research is needed, however this small study suggests that provision of information to patients regarding appropriate use of repeatable antibiotic prescriptions is sub-optimal. This coupled with existing patient knowledge and attitudes may contribute to inappropriate use of antibiotics.
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