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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2011 Jul;66(7):1609-16. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkr183. Epub 2011 May 19.

Antimicrobial prescribing in European nursing homes.

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School of Pharmacy, Queen's University Belfast, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast BT9 7BL, Northern Ireland, UK.



The aim of this study was to investigate antimicrobial prescribing in nursing homes in countries across Europe.


Point prevalence studies were completed in April and November 2009 in 85 nursing homes in 15 European countries and two UK administrations.


A total of 10,388 and 9430 residents participated in April and November 2009, respectively. The mean prevalence of antimicrobial prescribing in the nursing homes was 6.5% in April and 5.0% in November. The most commonly prescribed antimicrobials were methenamine (17.5%), trimethoprim (11.4%) and co-amoxiclav (11.1%) in April and co-amoxiclav (12.2%), nitrofurantoin (12.2%) and methenamine (11.5%) in November. There was large variation in the overall mean antimicrobial prescribing in the selected nursing homes from each of the contributing countries, ranging from 1.4% in Germany and Latvia to 19.4% in Northern Ireland in April and 1.2% in Latvia to 13.4% in Finland in November. Furthermore, differences in prescribing were apparent within countries with the largest variation evident in nursing homes in Northern Ireland (21.5%) in April and Finland in November (30.1%).


This is the first study to investigate antimicrobial prescribing in nursing homes in a large number of European countries. The findings suggest that there is considerable variation in antimicrobial prescribing in nursing homes across and within European countries. Nursing homes provide a significant service to the European community and must be supported in order to optimize antimicrobial use and limit the development of antimicrobial resistance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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