The researchers highlight in the study that, “since the pattern of overprescribing antibiotics to children with asthma was the same in both countries, the situation is likely to be the same elsewhere.” Perhaps even more startling is that “The Netherlands has some of the lowest antibiotic use in the world, so the situation in other countries where antibiotic use is much higher, such as in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece, could potentially be far worse,” according to the press release.
This is not the first-time inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics for asthma has been highlighted in the literature. In June 2017, researchers from the UK published the results of the Azithromycin Against Placebo in Exacerbation of Asthma (AZALEA) study
, which showed that there are no clinical benefits from adding azithromycin (500 mg for 3 days) to standard treatment for adults who presented to emergency departments with acute asthma exacerbations requiring a corticosteroid course. The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial was carried out from September 2011 to April 2014 at 31 United Kingdom medical centers and included 199 patients after screening 4582 subjects.
In the AZALEA study, the researchers found that antibiotics were also used for acute asthma exacerbations, much like the Erasmus study. According to the authors of both studies, these studies indicate and identify important opportunities for antibiotic stewardship.
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