Monitoring the community use of antibiotics in Italy within the National
Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance
Background: In Italy both the consumption of antibiotics and the
prevalence of bacterial resistance are higher than in other European
countries. In 2017, the first National Action Plan on Antimicrobial
Resistance (PNCAR) was adopted in Italy. In response to the PNCAR two
National Reports on Antibiotics’ use in the human setting have been
published. The article’s aim is to describe the pattern of antibiotics
consumption in the community setting in Italy from 2013 to 2018.
Methods: In order to analyse the consumption for reimbursed antibiotics
dispensed by community pharmacies different data sources were used.
Consumption was measured in terms of Defined Daily Dose (DDD),
prescriptions or prevalence of use. Results: In 2018, the consumption of
antibiotics in Italy amounted to 16.1 DDD per 1,000 inhabitants per day.
The rates of consumption by geographical area were: 12.7 DDD in the
North, 16.9 in the Centre and 20.4 in the South. The use was greater in
the extreme age groups than in the population aged from 20 to 64 years.
The consumption was higher in winter season with high peaks in the
incidence of flu syndromes. In the paediatric population, a utilization
rate of 1,010 prescriptions per 1,000 children, with a prevalence of use
of 40.8%, was found. Conclusion: The study provides useful information
on geographical variability of antibiotics’ use in Italy to guide
decision makers in the introduction of tailored interventions, as
suggested by PNCAR, aimed at promoting a more rational use of
antibiotics for humans and reducing antimicrobial resistance.