Dissertation on overprescription of antibiotics wins prize
Antibiotics are prescribed unnecessarily for respiratory problems and ear inflammations in children. Thomas Neumark of the Faculty of Health Sciences showed this in his doctoral dissertation last year. His study has just won the prize for the best general medical dissertation.
Doctors prescribe antibiotics for almost half of all patients who visit health clinics with respiratory problems, even though most such infections are caused by a virus and are self-curing.
Even most ear inflammations cure themselves without antibiotics. Neumark, a district doctor at Lindsdal health centre in Kalmar and a former doctoral student at the Faculty of Health Sciences, shows that despite the risk of more strains of bacteria becoming resistant, prescriptions have not significantly decreased over the years.
His dissertation is entitled “Treatment of Respiratory Tract Infections in Primary Care with Special Emphasis on Acute Otitis Media” and was presented at Linköping University in March of last year. It has just been selected as last year’s best general medical dissertation.
The prize is awarded by the Swedish Association of General Practice, where all of Sweden’s universities are represented. A celebratory lecture and the award ceremony will take place at the Congress of General Practice in Luleå in the spring of 2012.
The study is the largest ever of its kind in Sweden. It took place over six years and well over 240,000 primary care patient visits in Kalmar County were analysed. The three most common diagnoses were ear inflammation, colds, and strep throat.
Almost 80 percent of ear inflammation cases were treated with antibiotics, despite the recommended treatment making it possible to refrain from antibiotics for children ages 2-16 during the first three days to see if the ear heals without them. Regarding respiratory problems, antibiotics were prescribed in 45 percent of all visits.
Last updated: 2012-12-10