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Potential for More Rational Use of Antibiotics in Hospitalized Children in a Country With Low Resistance

Data From eight Point Prevalence Surveys

Thaulow, Christian Magnus, MD*; Berild, Dag, PhD†,‡; Eriksen, Beate Horsberg, PhD*; Myklebust, Tor Åge, PhD§; Blix, Hege Salvesen, PhD‡,¶

The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal: April 2019 - Volume 38 - Issue 4 - p 384–389
doi: 10.1097/INF.0000000000002106
Antimicrobial Reports

Background: Antimicrobial resistance is low in Norway, but to prevent an increase, the Norwegian Government has launched a National Strategy including a 30% reduction of broad-spectrum antibiotics (BSA) in hospitals within 2020. BSA are defined as second- and third-generation cephalosporins, carbapenems, piperacillin/tazobactam and quinolones. There are no recent studies of antibiotic use in Norwegian hospitalized children. The aim of this study was to describe the use of antibiotics with emphasis on BSA in Norwegian hospitalized children and neonates to detect possibilities for optimization.

Methods: Data were extracted from 8 national point prevalence surveys of systemic antibiotic prescriptions in Norwegian hospitals between 2015 and 2017. The choices of antibiotics were compared with the empirical recommendations given in available Norwegian guidelines. In total, 1323 prescriptions were issued for 937 patients.

Results: Twenty-four percent of pediatric inpatients were given antibiotics. Adherence to guidelines was 48%, and 30% (95% confidence interval: 27%–33%) of all patients on antibiotics received BSA. We identified only small variations in use of BSA between hospitals. One-third of the patients on antibiotic therapy received prophylaxis whereof 13% were given BSA. In 30% of prescriptions with BSA, no microbiologic sample was obtained before treatment.

Conclusions: This study reveals an excess of prescriptions with BSA in relation to the low resistance rate in Norway. Our findings reveal areas for improvement that can be useful in the forthcoming antibiotic stewardship programs in Norwegian pediatric departments.

From the *Department of Paediatrics, Møre and Romsdal Hospital Trust, Ålesund, Norway

Institute of Clinical Medicine, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway

University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

§Department of Research and Innovation, Møre and Romsdal Hospital Trust, Ålesund, Norway

Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway.

Accepted for publication April 23, 2018

C.M.T. has received a grant (# 2017/4012–30) from Møre and Romsdal Hospital Trust.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

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Address for correspondence: Christian Magnus Thaulow, MD, Department of Pediatrics, Ålesund Hospital, Møre and Romsdal Hospital Trust, N-6017 Ålesund, Norway. E-mail:

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