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Reducing inappropriate antibiotic prescribing in upper respiratory tract infection in a primary care setting in Kolkata, India
  1. Amy Dehn Lunn
  1. Calcutta Rescue, Kolkata, India
  1. Correspondence to Dr Amy Dehn Lunn; amy.dehnlunn{at}


Inappropriate antibiotic use is a key factor in the emergence of antibiotic resistance. The majority of antibiotics are prescribed in primary care, where upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) is a common presentation. Inappropriate antibiotic prescribing in URTI is common globally and has increased markedly in developing and transitional countries. Antibiotic stewardship is crucial to prevent the emergence and spread of resistant microbes. This project aimed to reduce inappropriate antibiotic prescribing in URTI in a non-governmental organisation’s primary care outreach clinics in Kolkata, India, from 62.6% to 30% over 4 months. A multifaceted intervention to reduce inappropriate antibiotic use in non-specific URTI was implemented. This consisted of a repeated process of audit and feedback, interactive training sessions, one-to-one case-based discussion, antibiotic guideline development and coding updates. The primary outcome measure was antibiotic prescribing rates. A baseline audit of all patients presenting with non-specific URTI over 8 weeks in November and December 2016 (n=222) found that 62.6% were prescribed antibiotics. Postintervention audit over 4 weeks in April 2017 (n=69) showed a marked reduction in antibiotic prescribing to 7.2%. An increase in documentation of examination findings was also observed, from 52.7% to 95.6%. This multifaceted intervention was successful at reducing inappropriate antibiotic prescribing, with sustained reductions demonstrated over the 4 months of the project. This suggests that approaches previously used in Europe can successfully be applied to different settings.

  • quality improvement
  • antibiotic management
  • PDSA
  • audit and feedback
  • general practice

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  • Contributors ADL designed the data collection process, collected the data, implemented the multifaceted intervention, analysed the data and drafted the paper.

  • Funding The author has not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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