Objectives: To explore antibiotic prescribing patterns in rural areas across 10 provinces of Western China and to compare the patterns among these provinces.
Methods: About 20 125 prescriptions were collected from 680 primary health clinics in villages from 40 counties in 10 provinces of Western China. Percentage of prescriptions with antibiotics and number of antibiotics per 100 prescriptions were used as measurements of antibiotic utilization.
Results: The percentage of prescriptions with antibiotics was 48.43 (range: 41.12-57.47) in the study areas. There were 49 kinds of antibiotics prescribed in total, and 17 of them accounted for 90% of all usage. The number of antibiotics per 100 prescriptions was 54.62 (range: 43.78-69.56).
Conclusions: The frequency and proportion of prescribed antibiotics in the rural areas of Western China are higher compared with the developed countries, and the patterns of antibiotic prescription differ greatly among provinces. The findings have important policy implications for recommendations on the utilization of antibiotics in China.