In regions where many people are unemployed, antibiotics are often prescribed by doctors to children
In regions with few doctors and high unemployment, children are prescribed antibiotics more often than elsewhere. This increases the risk of resistance. Is the problem with the overwhelmed doctors?
Use antibiotics wisely
Antibiotics, which are among the most commonly prescribed drugs worldwide, are usually the ideal remedy for bacterial infections. Since its invention and further development, many diseases have been taken away from the drug by the deadly danger and it has helped cure diseases for millions of people worldwide.
However, antibiotics can also be used incorrectly or too often, for example, they are prescribed too often in Germany. An average of every second child is given an antibiotic once a year, in part for diseases that are usually caused by viruses, such as the common cold or otitis media. In contrast, antibiotics cannot do anything, they have an antibacterial effect.
It becomes a problem if antibiotics are used unnecessarily too often. The development of resistance to bacteria that get into the environment is a completely natural process, but this process is promoted too much by incorrect handling of the medication. This can mean that antibiotics are no longer effective if necessary.
Dangerous multi-resistance In the meantime, multi-resistant germs have become a major problem. They can make infections very difficult or sometimes impossible to treat. Only recently, scientists from the Free University of Berlin have found multiresistant intestinal germs in every six animals in an investigation of rats from the Berlin city area. This number is similar among patients in hospitals, and is around 12 to 16 percent. At the Charité in Berlin, several seriously ill patients with multi-resistant germs were infected in February. The World Health Organization (WHO) also demands responsible use of antibiotics and warns of resistance.
Social situation partly responsible for antibiotic treatment A study by the Bertelsmann Foundation came to the conclusion that antibiotics are prescribed very differently in Germany. In some areas, the proportion of children who receive antibiotics is less than 20 percent, in others it is almost three times as many. Although the results were published last year, the reasons for the regional differences have so far been unclear. "A clear pattern was not recognizable at first," said Stefan Etgeton, health expert at the Bertelsmann Foundation. In the meantime, however, there is new knowledge through a further short study. In doing so, various factors such as economic situation, educational status, social situation and that were evaluated by evaluating regional key figures volunteer engagement among residents, and surprisingly the social situation has the greatest impact on how often antibiotics are prescribed, and the higher the unemployment rate and the lower the employment rate, the more often antibiotics are prescribed for children.
Overworked doctors? The number of doctors ended up in second place: the fewer prescriptions, the fewer pediatricians and general practitioners in the region. "It may be that general practitioners who treat a large number of patients tend to prescribe an antibiotic more quickly - out of a certain overload routine," according to Etgeton's analysis. Together, the social situation and the density of doctors can explain a quarter of the differences.
Another difference can be found between the different specialist groups. "With middle ear infections, general practitioners prescribe antibiotics more often than pediatricians or ENT doctors," says Etgeton. However, the opposite is true for pneumonia. "Where appropriate, family doctors prescribe fewer antibiotics than pediatricians. This is an indication that the guidelines are not implemented in general practice as is the case with specialists. "
Enlightened patients as a prescription It also became clear that fewer antibiotics were prescribed with a better exchange between family and pediatricians. The quality circles in Schleswig-Holstein are a good example of this. Etgeton analyzes: "This could be an indication of how important it is to intensify the professional exchange between specialists and general practitioners." However, since the majority of the differences cannot be fully explained, one important conclusion remains: an explanation of the patient when and how antibiotics make sense should be further strengthened. "Fact check" answers many questions and provides information that can help to find better ways to use antibiotics. (ad)
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