Background: Children commonly refuse to take antibiotics, which may induce parents to request new antibiotic prescriptions with different pharmaceutical characteristics.
Objectives: To investigate prescription changes for children 0–12 years receiving oral liquid or solid antibiotic formulations and to explore the relationships between prescription changes and characteristics related to the child, prescriber and antibiotic.
Methods: A population-based registry study based on data from the Norwegian Prescription Database (NorPD) from 2004 to 2016. Antibiotic prescription changes were defined as the dispensing of subsequent antibiotics with different pharmaceutical characteristics to the same child within 2 days after initial prescriptions. Data were analysed using multivariable logistic regression and generalized estimating equations.
Results: Requests for new prescriptions followed 3.0% of 2 691 483 initial antibiotic prescriptions for children. Young children who received solid formulations (10.9%) and certain poor-tasting antibiotics (8.6%) had the highest proportions of new prescriptions. Penicillin V was most commonly changed, while macrolides/lincosamides dominated subsequent prescriptions. In order of magnitude, the characteristics associated with requests for new prescriptions were the children’s ages, poor taste and concentration of liquids, size and shape of solids, prescribers born in recent decades, and girl patients. Reimbursed prescriptions and scored solids were associated with fewer requests.
Conclusions: While only 3% of the antibiotic prescriptions were changed, the preference of broad-spectrum over narrow-spectrum antibiotics for young children in this study mirrors international prescription patterns. Avoiding the costs of children’s refusal and consequent changes may thus be a motivation for choosing more preferred antibiotics.
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