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Long-term oral antibiotic use in people with acne vulgaris in UK primary care: a drug utilization study

Bhate, Ketaki; Mansfield, Kathryn E; Sinnott, Sarah-Jo; Margolis, David J; Adesanya, Elizabeth; Francis, Nick; Leyrat, Clemence; ... Mathur, Rohini; + view all (2022) Long-term oral antibiotic use in people with acne vulgaris in UK primary care: a drug utilization study. British Journal of Dermatology , Article ljac084. 10.1093/bjd/ljac084. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: The inappropriate use of antibiotics is understood to contribute to antimicrobial resistance. Oral antibiotics are regularly used to treat moderate-to-severe acne vulgaris. In practice, we do not know the typical length of oral antibiotic treatment courses for acne in routine primary care and what proportion of people receive more than one course of treatment following a new acne diagnosis. OBJECTIVES: To describe how oral antibiotics are prescribed for acne over time in UK primary care. METHODS: We conducted a descriptive longitudinal drug utilization study using routinely collected primary care data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink GOLD (2004-2019). We included individuals (8-50 years) with a new acne diagnosis recorded between 1 January 2004 and 31 July 2019. RESULTS: We identified 217 410 people with a new acne diagnosis. The median age was 17 years [interquartile range (IQR) 15-25] and median follow-up was 4.3 years (IQR 1.9-7.6). Among people with a new acne diagnosis, 96 703 (44.5%) received 248 560 prescriptions for long-term oral antibiotics during a median follow-up of 5.3 years (IQR 2.8-8.5). The median number of continuous courses of antibiotic therapy (≥ 28 days) per person was four (IQR 2-6). The majority (n = 59 010, 61.0%) of first oral antibiotic prescriptions in those with a recorded acne diagnosis were between the ages of 12 and 18. Most (n = 71 544, 74.0%) first courses for oral antibiotics were for between 28 and 90 days. The median duration of the first course of treatment was 56 days (IQR 50-93 days) and 18 127 (18.7%) of prescriptions of ≥ 28 days were for < 6 weeks. Among people who received a first course of oral antibiotic for ≥ 28 days, 56 261 (58.2%) received a second course after a treatment gap of ≥ 28 days. The median time between first and second courses was 135 days (IQR 67-302). The cumulative duration of exposure to oral antibiotics during follow-up was 255 days (8.5 months). CONCLUSIONS: Further work is needed to understand the consequences of using antibiotics for shorter periods than recommended. Suboptimal treatment duration may result in reduced clinical effectiveness or repeated exposures, potentially contributing to antimicrobial resistance.

Type: Article
Title: Long-term oral antibiotic use in people with acne vulgaris in UK primary care: a drug utilization study
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/bjd/ljac084
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/bjd/ljac084
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of British Association of Dermatologists. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Infection and Immunity
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Health Informatics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10163803
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