Background: There are no reliable data on antibiotic use in non-European Union (EU) southern and eastern European countries and newly independent states. We aimed to collect valid, representative, comparable data on systemic antimicrobial use in these non-EU countries of the WHO European region.
Methods: Validated 2011 total national wholesale antibiotic-use data of six southern and eastern European countries and regions and seven newly independent states were analysed in accordance with the WHO anatomical therapeutic chemical (ATC)/defined daily doses (DDD) method and expressed in DDD/1000 inhabitants per day (DID).
Findings: Total (outpatients and hospital care) antibiotic use ranged from 15·3 DID for Armenia to 42·3 DID for Turkey. Co-amoxiclav was mainly used in Georgia (42·9% of total antibiotic use) and Turkey (30·7%). Newly independent states used substantial quantities of ampicillin and amoxicillin (up to 55·9% of total antibiotic use in Azerbaijan). Montenegro and Serbia were the highest consumers of macrolides (15·8% and 19·5% of total antibiotic use, respectively), mainly azithromycin. Parenteral antibiotic treatment is common practice: 46·4% of total antibiotic use in Azerbaijan (mainly ampicillin; 5·3 DID) and 31·1% of total antibiotic use in Tajikistan (mainly ceftriaxone; 4·7 DID).
Interpretation: This study provides publicly available total antibiotic-use data for 13 non-EU countries and areas of the WHO European region. These data will raise awareness of inappropriate antibiotic use and stimulate policy makers to develop action plans. The established surveillance system provides a method to develop quality indicators of antibiotic use and to assess the effect of policy and regulatory actions.
Funding: Netherlands Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sport, and EU.
Copyright © 2014 World Health Organization. Published by Elsevier Ltd/Inc/BV. All rights reserved. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.