Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 37279198
Link to HAL – pasteur-04122106
Link to DOI – 10.1371/journal.pmed.1004211
PLoS Med 2023 Jun; 20(6): e1004211
Antibiotic resistance is a global public health issue, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where antibiotics required to treat resistant infections are not affordable. LMICs also bear a disproportionately high burden of bacterial diseases, particularly among children, and resistance jeopardizes progress made in these areas. Although outpatient antibiotic use is a major driver of antibiotic resistance, data on inappropriate antibiotic prescribing in LMICs are scarce at the community level, where the majority of prescribing occurs. Here, we aimed to characterize inappropriate antibiotic prescribing among young outpatient children and to identify its determinants in 3 LMICs.We used data from a prospective, community-based mother-and-child cohort (BIRDY, 2012 to 2018) conducted across urban and rural sites in Madagascar, Senegal, and Cambodia. Children were included at birth and followed-up for 3 to 24 months. Data from all outpatient consultations and antibiotics prescriptions were recorded. We defined inappropriate prescriptions as antibiotics prescribed for a health event determined not to require antibiotic therapy (antibiotic duration, dosage, and formulation were not considered). Antibiotic appropriateness was determined a posteriori using a classification algorithm developed according to international clinical guidelines. We used mixed logistic analyses to investigate risk factors for antibiotic prescription during consultations in which children were determined not to require antibiotics. Among the 2,719 children included in this analysis, there were 11,762 outpatient consultations over the follow-up period, of which 3,448 resulted in antibiotic prescription. Overall, 76.5% of consultations resulting in antibiotic prescription were determined not to require antibiotics, ranging from 71.5% in Madagascar to 83.3% in Cambodia. Among the 10,416 consultations (88.6%) determined not to require antibiotic therapy, 25.3% (n = 2,639) nonetheless resulted in antibiotic prescription. This proportion was much lower in Madagascar (15.6%) than in Cambodia (57.0%) or Senegal (57.2%) (p < 0.001). Among the consultations determined not to require antibiotics, in both Cambodia and Madagascar the diagnoses accounting for the greatest absolute share of inappropriate prescribing were rhinopharyngitis (59.0% of associated consultations in Cambodia, 7.9% in Madagascar) and gastroenteritis without evidence of blood in the stool (61.6% and 24.6%, respectively). In Senegal, uncomplicated bronchiolitis accounted for the greatest number of inappropriate prescriptions (84.4% of associated consultations). Across all inappropriate prescriptions, the most frequently prescribed antibiotic was amoxicillin in Cambodia and Madagascar (42.1% and 29.2%, respectively) and cefixime in Senegal (31.2%). Covariates associated with an increased risk of inappropriate prescription include patient age greater than 3 months (adjusted odds ratios (aOR) with 95% confidence interval (95% CI) ranged across countries from 1.91 [1.63, 2.25] to 5.25 [3.85, 7.15], p < 0.001) and living in rural as opposed to urban settings (aOR ranged across countries from 1.83 [1.57, 2.14] to 4.40 [2.34, 8.28], p < 0.001). Diagnosis with a higher severity score was also associated with an increased risk of inappropriate prescription (aOR = 2.00 [1.75, 2.30] for moderately severe, 3.10 [2.47, 3.91] for most severe, p < 0.001), as was consultation during the rainy season (aOR = 1.32 [1.19, 1.47], p < 0.001). The main limitation of our study is the lack of bacteriological documentation, which may have resulted in some diagnosis misclassification and possible overestimation of inappropriate antibiotic prescription.In this study, we observed extensive inappropriate antibiotic prescribing among pediatric outpatients in Madagascar, Senegal, and Cambodia. Despite great intercountry heterogeneity in prescribing practices, we identified common risk factors for inappropriate prescription. This underscores the importance of implementing local programs to optimize antibiotic prescribing at the community level in LMICs.