Prescription of antibiotics in the medical care of newly arrived refugees and migrants

2021 | journal article; research paper. A publication of Göttingen

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​Prescription of antibiotics in the medical care of newly arrived refugees and migrants​
Kleinert, E. ; Hillermann, N.; Jablonka, A.; Happle, C.; Müller, F.   & Simmenroth, A. ​ (2021) 
Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety30(8) pp. 1074​-1083​.​ DOI: 

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Kleinert, Evelyn ; Hillermann, Nele; Jablonka, Alexandra; Happle, Christine; Müller, Frank ; Simmenroth, Anne 
Abstract Purpose Unnecessary and inappropriate use of antibiotics is a widespread problem in primary care. However, current data on the care of refugees and migrants in initial reception centers is pending. This article provides data on prescription frequencies of various antibiotics and associated diagnoses. Methods In this retrospective observational study, patient data of 3255 patients with 6376 medical contacts in two initial reception centers in Germany were analyzed. Patient data, collected by chart review, included sociodemographic characteristics, diagnoses, and prescriptions. Antibiotic prescription behavior and corresponding physician‐coded diagnoses were analyzed. Results Nineteen percent of all patients in our study received systemic antibiotics during the observation period, with children below the age of 10 years receiving antibiotics most frequently (24%). The most commonly prescribed antibiotics were penicillins (65%), macrolides (12%), and cephalosporins (7%). The most frequent diagnoses associated with antibiotic prescription were acute tonsillitis (26%), bronchitis (21%), infections of the upper respiratory tract (14%), and urinary tract infections (10%). In case of acute bronchitis 74% of the antibiotic prescriptions were probably not indicated. In addition, we found a significant number of inappropriate prescriptions such as amoxicillin for tonsillitis (67%), and ciprofloxacin and cotrimoxazol for urinary tract infections (49%). Conclusion Regarding inappropriate prescription of antibiotics in refugee healthcare, this study shows a rate ranging from 8% for upper respiratory tract infections to 75% for acute bronchitis. Unnecessary use of antibiotics is a global problem contributing to gratuitous costs, side effects, and antimicrobial resistance. This research contributes to the development of stringent antibiotic stewardship regiments in the particularly vulnerable population of migrants and refugees.
Issue Date
John Wiley \u0026 Sons, Inc.
Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety 
DICTUM Friedland - Digitale Kommunikationshilfen für nicht-deutschsprechende Patienten im Grenzdurchgangslager Friedland 
Institut für Allgemeinmedizin 
European Social Fund
German Centre for Infection Research at Hannover Medical School
Land Niedersachsen
Medizinischen Hochschule Hannover
Robert Bosch Stiftung



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