Objectives: To assess quality of outpatient antibiotic use in Europe in 2009 based on the 12 European Surveillance of Antimicrobial Consumption (ESAC) drug-specific quality indicators and to evaluate changes in quality between 2004 and 2009.
Methods: Quality of outpatient antibiotic use in 2009 was compared between 32 countries by calculating the indicator values for 2009 for each of the 12 ESAC drug-specific quality indicators based on outpatient antibiotic use data expressed in defined daily doses per 1000 inhabitants per day (DID). For each of the indicators we grouped the 2009 indicator values into four quartiles. To evaluate changes in quality between 2004 and 2009, based on their respective indicator values, countries were also grouped according to the quartile distribution of the 2004 indicator values. Only countries able to deliver data for both years were included in this analysis.
Results: In 2009 a difference in the quality of outpatient antibiotic use between Nordic and Southern European countries was observed. Quality of outpatient antibiotic use decreased between 2004 and 2009. In particular, there were increases in the quality indicators [J01F_DID], [J01M_DID], [J01CR_%] and [J01_B/N], i.e. the use of macrolides, lincosamides and streptogramins in DID, the use of quinolones in DID, the proportional use of combinations of penicillins, including β-lactamase inhibitors and the ratio of broad- to narrow-spectrum antibiotics.
Conclusions: Quality of outpatient antibiotic use in DID decreased between 2004 and 2009. A continuous effort to improve outpatient antibiotic consumption seems to be essential to reduce outpatient antibiotic use in general and the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics in particular.