Impact of mass and systematic antibiotic administration on antibiotic resistance in low- and middle-income countries? A systematic review

Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2021 Jul;58(1):106364. doi: 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2021.106364. Epub 2021 May 24.


Antibiotic consumption is a key driver of antimicrobial resistance (AR), particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where risk factors for AR emergence and spread are prevalent. However, the potential contribution of mass drug administration (MDA) and systematic drug administration (SDA) of antibiotics to AR spread is unknown. We conducted a systematic review to provide an overview of MDA/SDA in LMICs, including indications, antibiotics used and, if investigated, levels of AR over time. This systematic review is reported in accordance with the PRISMA statement. Of 2438 identified articles, 63 were reviewed: indications for MDA/SDA were various, and targeted populations were particularly vulnerable, including pregnant women, children, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected populations, and communities in outbreak settings. Available data suggest that MDA/SDA may lead to a significant increase in AR, especially following azithromycin administration. However, only 40% of studies evaluated AR. Integrative approaches that evaluate AR in addition to clinical outcomes are needed to understand the consequences of MDA/SDA implementation, combined with standardised AR surveillance for timely detection of AR emergence.

Keywords: Antibiotic resistance; Antibiotic usage; Global health; Low- and middle-income countries; Mass drug administration; Prophylaxis.

Publication types

  • Review