Trends in antibiotic use among outpatients in New Delhi, India

BMC Infect Dis. 2011 Apr 20;11:99. doi: 10.1186/1471-2334-11-99.


Background: The overall volume of antibiotic consumption in the community is one of the foremost causes of antimicrobial resistance. There is much ad-hoc information about the inappropriate consumption of antibiotics, over-the-counter availability, and inadequate dosage but there is very little actual evidence of community practices.

Methods: This study surveyed antibiotic use in the community (December 2007-November 2008) using the established methodology of patient exit interviews at three types of facilities: 20 private retail pharmacies, 10 public sector facilities, and 20 private clinics to obtain a complete picture of community antibiotic use over a year. The Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) classification and the Defined Daily Dose (DDD) measurement units were assigned to the data. Antibiotic use was measured as DDD/1000 patients visiting the facility and also as percent of patients receiving an antibiotic.

Results: During the data collection period, 17995, 9205, and 5922 patients visiting private retail pharmacies, public facilities and private clinics, respectively, were included in our study. 39% of the patients attending private retail pharmacies and public facilities and 43% of patients visiting private clinics were prescribed at least one antibiotic. Consumption patterns of antibiotics were similar at private retail pharmacies and private clinics where fluoroquinolones, cephalosporins, and extended spectrum penicillins were the three most commonly prescribed groups of antibiotics. At public facilities, there was a more even use of all the major antibiotic groups including penicillins, fluoroquinolones, macrolides, cephalosporins, tetracyclines, and cotrimoxazole. Newer members from each class of antibiotics were prescribed. Not much seasonal variation was seen although slightly higher consumption of some antibiotics in winter and slightly higher consumption of fluoroquinolones during the rainy season were observed.

Conclusions: A very high consumption of antibiotics was observed in both public and private sector outpatients. There was a high use of broad spectrum and newer antibiotics in the community. Suitable and sustainable interventions should be implemented to promote rational use of antibiotics that will help in decreasing the menace of antibiotic resistance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Utilization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • India
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Outpatients / statistics & numerical data*
  • Population Surveillance / methods
  • Private Sector
  • Public Sector


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents