Background: Inappropriate use of antibiotics is of great public health concern, both nationally and globally. The aim of this study was to see if antibiotic prescription for urinary tract infections in family practice satisfied the national guidelines.
Method and material: We used data already collected from pharmacies and 152 family physicians in the county of Vestfold, Norway in February through March 2003. Two sets of data were linked: all antibiotic prescription dispensed in pharmacies and all electrical bills from the family physicians collected from the National Insurance Agency (NIA). Together they gave information on the consultations and on the treatment given. We measured witch antibiotics were used and the length of the cures and compared them to the national guidelines.
Results: We found that the choice of antibiotic generally corresponded with the recommended. Trimeto-prim and Mecillinam were the dominating antibiotics prescribed to both men and women. Only 50 prescriptions of Ciprofloxacine were made to the total of 2627 patients. The length of the treatment did not correspond with the guidelines. 32% of all patients with cystitis did not get treatment long enough. 70% of men from 60 years and over got too short treatment. In a logistic regression analysis, we found that this had nothing to do with consultation type, doctor s age or gender. Female patients more often got correct treatment length than men. The younger the patient was, the better the treatment. Doctors with 1000-1500 patients also tended to prescribe antibiotics more correctly than doctors with more or less patients. Resistance data from Telemark, Norway and for Norway seen as a whole, indicate that Trimeto-prim should be used less frequently.