Are we using antibiotics appropriately in BC?

Date posted: 
Wednesday, June 20, 2018

It is well known that high consumption of antibiotics, and their inappropriate usage for viral infections rather than bacterial ones, leads to resistance to the drugs.

Most antibiotics are prescribed in primary care, with around three-quarters of all antibiotics used in medical care being prescribed by clinicians in an outpatient setting. Most of these prescriptions are for respiratory tract infections, despite the fact that they are often self-limiting infections caused by viruses and do not require antibiotic treatment. Antibiotic use not only leads to adverse events in patients such as Clostridium difficile diarrhea, but more importantly, leads to resistance.

In Canada, antibiotic use has been fairly stable over the last decade, although in British Columbia, usage has declined slightly through the continued efforts of the Do Bugs Need Drugs educational campaign aimed at patients and healthcare professionals through dissemination of antimicrobial guidelines.

Data access has been approved for a population-based study to determine the appropriateness of antibiotic use for infections in British Columbia, using data from a cohort which includes all patients in the province diagnosed with an infection from 2013 to 2016. The study is being carried out by Masters student, Ariana Saatchi, supervised by Professor Fawziah Lalji, in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia.

“Although the Do Bugs Need Drugs program monitors antimicrobial usage on an ongoing basis, we have never looked at appropriateness of usage, only the total amount being used per infection,” says Ms Saatchi. “The rationale for this study is to estimate the rate of appropriate antibiotic prescriptions for infections in British Columbia.”

For the project PopData will link BC Stats data with three data sets from the BC Ministry of Health; Medical Services Plan, PharmaNet, and National Ambulatory Care Reporting System.


Page last revised: November 21, 2019