Use of antibiotics in children: a Danish nationwide drug utilization study

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2015 Feb;34(2):e16-22. doi: 10.1097/INF.0000000000000519.


Background: We aimed to describe the use of systemic antibiotics among children in Denmark.

Methods: National data on drug use in Denmark were extracted from the Danish National Prescription Database. We used prescription data for all children in Denmark aged 0 to 11 years from January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2012.

Results: We obtained data on 5,884,301 prescriptions for systemic antibiotics issued to 1,206,107 children. The most used single substances were phenoxymethylpenicillin (45%), amoxicillin (34%) and erythromycin (6%). The highest incidence rate of antibiotic treatment episodes was observed among children younger than 2 at 827 per 1000 children in 2012. Incidence rates were relatively stable throughout the study period. One-year prevalences in 2012 were 485, 363 and 190 per 1000 children among children aged 0-1, 2-4 and 5-11, respectively. A gradual shift from narrow-spectrum penicillin V to the broader-spectrum amoxicillin was found among children younger than 5. The use of macrolides decreased slightly, especially among those aged 0-1. Minor regional differences were noted, with somewhat higher use in the Capital Region. Skewness in use was most notable among those aged 0-1. There was little evidence of heavy users.

Conclusion: Prescribing rate of antibiotics to children in Denmark remained stable at a high level from 2000 to 2012. An increase in the use of broad-spectrum beta-lactam penicillin was noted, but otherwise the prescribing pattern adhered well to National guidelines with respect to choice of antibiotics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Denmark
  • Drug Utilization / standards*
  • Drug Utilization / trends*
  • Female
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents