Antibiotic usage in South Africa: a longitudinal analysis of medicine claims data
Agyakwa, Winifred Esther
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The main aim of the study was to determine the prescribing patterns of antibiotics with an emphasis on fluoroquinolones in the private health sector of South Africa. The empirical study followed a quantitative, descriptive, observational method using retrospective, longitudinal medicine claims data provided by a nationally representative Pharmaceutical Benefit Management company (PBM) from 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2012. Penicillins, cephalosporins, carbapenems, aminoglycosides, chloramphenicol, fluoroquinolones, macrolides, tetracyclines, sulphonamides and trimethoprim were considered in the study. A total of 5 155 262 (44.8%) patients received at least one antibiotic prescription out of the total number of registered beneficiaries included in the database. The average number of antibiotic prescriptions per patient per year ranged from 2.22 ± 1.89 (95% CI 2.22-2.22) in 2005 to 1.98 ± 1.62 (95% CI 1.98-1.99) in 2012. The number of antibiotics per prescription per year remained fairly constant at 1.05 ± 0.19 (95% CI 1.05-1.05) in 2005 to 1.06 ± 0.21 (95% CI 1.06-1.06) in 2012. The prevalence of patients receiving antibiotic prescriptions decreased from 46.1% (n = 789 247) in 2005 to 38.2% (n = 480 159) in 2012. Antibiotics were mostly prescribed for females (54.9%, n = 2 831 686) and in patients aged 0 to 18 years (26.5%, n = 1 366 824) and least in patients above 65 years (9.5%, n = 490 496). The prevalence of patients receiving antibiotic prescriptions was highest in Gauteng (41.9%, n = 2 159 360) and lowest in the Northern Cape (1.7%, n = 87 720). Antibiotics were mostly prescribed during the winter period. Penicillins were the most prescribed antibiotics (43%) and carbapenem the least (0.1%) out of the total number of antibiotics claimed. No practically significant association was found between antibiotic prescribing and gender, age, province and season. A total of 1 983 622 prescriptions for fluoroquinolones were claimed in patients older than 18 years. The average number of fluoroquinolone prescriptions per patient per year ranged from 1.45 ± 0.92 (95% CI 1.44-1.45) in 2005 to 1.31 ± 0.71 (95% CI 1.31-1.32) in 2012. The highest prevalence of fluoroquinolone prescribing was observed in females (64.1%, n = 850 253) and in patients between 45 and 65 years (38.6%, n = 511 542). The total fluoroquinolone use by the study population decreased from 2.85 DID in 2005 to 2.41 DID in 2012. Norfloxacin was the only first-generation fluoroquinolone prescribed. The second-generation fluoroquinolones accounted for more than 50% of the total DID, with ciprofloxacin being the most used active ingredient in this generation. Moxifloxacin was the most prescribed third-generation fluoroquinolone; its use ranging from 0.51 DID in 2005 to 0.44 DID in 2012. Between 2005 and 2012, a total of 57 325 prescriptions for fluoroquinolones were claimed by patients 18 years and younger. The prevalence of patients receiving fluoroquinolone prescriptions decreased from 3.6% (n = 8 329) in 2005 to 2.9% (n = 3 310) in 2012. Fluoroquinolones were mostly prescribed to females and in patients between 12 and 18 years. In all age groups, prescribing was mainly done by general medical practitioners. Ciprofloxacin was the most prescribed fluoroquinolone, followed by levofloxacin. In conclusion, this study established estimates on the prevalence of antibiotic prescribing covering an eight-year period. Secondly, baseline estimates for fluoroquinolone prescribing in adults using the ATC/DDD methodology were determined. Fluoroquinolone prescribing patterns in children and adolescents were determined, with specific reference to the comparison between the prescribed daily and recommended daily dosages in the different age groups and by prescribers’ specialties.
- Health Sciences