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GPs may be prescribing antibiotics 'unnecessarily' to women with suspected urinary tract infections (UTIs), new research suggests.
The authors said GPs had a 'low threshold' for prescribing antibiotics to this group and added it was an important area where gains could be made in reducing unnecessary antibiotic use.
The study found more than two-thirds of patients with a suspected UTI 69 per cent were prescribed antibiotics by GPs. However, on laboratory testing it was found some 55 per cent of them tested negative for infection.
The results, presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Academic Primary Care in Gateshead last week, showed a UTI was only
confirmed in 37 per cent of patients.
The findings were based on 112 patient questionnaires and urine samples at nine practices in Bro Taf, Wales.
Study leader Dr Kathryn O'Brien, clinical lecturer at the University of Cardiff and a GP in Brynmawr, said: 'It just highlights the fact we need to find out more about this.'
She added: 'What we are doing is not an accurate way of working out who should have antibiotics and who should not.'