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Fam Pract. 1999 Feb;16(1):50-3.

Reasons for non-guideline-based antibiotic prescriptions for acute otitis media in The Netherlands.

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  • 1Department of General Practice/Family Medicine, Utrecht, The Netherlands.



Appropriate use of antibiotics is a major issue in today's medicine. The increasing worldwide bacterial resistance to antimicrobial agents is forcing us to prescribe antibiotics more rationally. It is known that overuse of antibiotics for upper respiratory tract infections exists. Little is known about the reasons for actual prescribing of antibiotics. In order to be able to implement strategies to restrict inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions, insight into the reasons for the actual prescribing could be important.


We aimed to explore the reasons, other than those stated in the guidelines of the Dutch College of GPs, for prescribing antibiotics for acute otitis media.


Seventy antibiotic prescriptions for acute otitis media, prescribed by 22 Dutch GPs, were evaluated to see whether they followed the guidelines on acute otitis media of the Dutch College of General Practitioners. Non-guideline-based antibiotic prescriptions were discussed in stimulated recall interviews with the prescribing GPs regarding their prescribing behaviour of antibiotics for acute otitis media.


In total, 77% of the antibiotic prescriptions did not follow the guidelines of the Dutch College of General Practitioners. Medical reasons for prescribing antibiotics were mentioned most often for non-guideline-based antibiotic prescriptions; however, in a substantial number of cases doctors gave non-medical reasons as well.


Appropriate use of antibiotics might not be reached by focusing only on the efficacy of these drugs. The impact of doctors' awareness of their non-medical motives for prescribing antibiotics on more rational antibiotic prescribing should be investigated further.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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