Antibiotic use in eastern Europe: a cross-national database study in coordination with the WHO Regional Office for Europe

Lancet Infect Dis. 2014 May;14(5):381-7. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(14)70071-4. Epub 2014 Mar 20.


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.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Drug Utilization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Europe, Eastern
  • European Union
  • Humans
  • World Health Organization


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents