Outpatient antibacterial use and costs in children and adolescents: a nationwide register-based study in Finland, 2008-16
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CitationParviainen, Sofia. Saastamoinen, Leena. Lauhio, Anneli. Sepponen, Kati. (2019). Outpatient antibacterial use and costs in children and adolescents: a nationwide register-based study in Finland, 2008-16. Journal of antimicrobial chemotherapy, 74 (8) , 2426–2433. 10.1093/jac/dkz208.
To describe the prevalence of outpatient use and the costs of systemic antibacterials among children and adolescents in Finland during 2008–16 and to examine patterns of use by age and gender.
Data were retrieved from the Finnish statistical database Kelasto, based on the Finnish Prescription Registry. Data included information on dispensed reimbursed prescriptions of antibacterials for systemic use in children aged 0–17 years during 2008–16. The prevalence of antibacterial prescriptions per 1000 children and costs per prescription were calculated.
The overall prevalence of antibacterial prescriptions decreased in the study period and was highest in 2010 (with 708 prescriptions per 1000 children) and lowest in 2016 (with 374 prescriptions per 1000 children). Children aged 1–2 years had the highest prevalence of antibacterial prescriptions. Furthermore, boys had slightly higher prevalences than girls. The 10 most commonly used antibacterial agents covered ∼97% of all prescriptions and broad-spectrum penicillins were the most commonly used antibacterials. The total costs of antibacterials decreased during the study period, but the costs per prescription increased.
This study showed a decreasing trend in the prescribing of antibacterial drugs, regardless of age or gender. Increasing awareness of antimicrobial resistance, reimbursement status changes and pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations are possible reasons for this. Some of the antibacterial oral solutions lost their reimbursement status, but their consumption did not decrease any faster than the consumption of the substances with continuous reimbursability. It is likely that removing the reimbursement status of antibacterials has placed an extra cost burden on families and increased costs per prescription.