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Antibiotics scripts on increase again

GPs are prescribing more antibiotics to children, reversing the dramatic fall following Government campaigns in the late 1990s, new research shows.

Antimicrobial resistance experts are waiting for 2006 data to see if the slight increase in prescribing rates in 2005 is 'a blip or a real trend'.

A new study, to be presented at the International Pharmacoepidemiology and Therapeutic Risk Management conference in Quebec this week, found the incidence of antibiotic prescribing in UK general practice rose from 374.4 to 425.4 prescriptions per 1,000 person- years from 2000/5 .

This followed a 40 per cent fall in prescribing rates in the late 1990s and comes as the Government plans a new onslaught against ‘unnecessary' antibiotics scripts, with NICE launching a review of prescribing.

Study author Dr Mike Sharland, a consultant in paediatric infectious diseases at St George's Hospital, London, said he was keen to establish whether the data represented a real increase.

But Dr Sharland, a member of the advisory committee on antimicrobial resistance and healthcare associated infection, said monitoring procedures had to be in place to ensure no harm was associated with any cuts.

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