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Decreased Use of Broad-Spectrum Antibiotics during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Epidemic in South Korea

journal contribution
posted on 2023-07-17, 05:25 authored by S Ryu, Y Hwang, ST Ali, DS Kim, EY Klein, EHY Lau, BJ Cowling
Background: Early in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, there was a concern over possible increase in antibiotic use due to coinfections among COVID-19 patients in the community. Here, we evaluate the changes in nationwide use of broad-spectrum antibiotics during the COVID-19 epidemic in South Korea. Methods: We obtained national reimbursement data on the prescription of antibiotics, including penicillin with β-lactamase inhibitors, cephalosporins, fluoroquinolones, and macrolides. We examined the number of antibiotic prescriptions compared with the previous 3 years in the same period from August to July. To quantify the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on antibiotic use, we developed a regression model adjusting for changes of viral acute respiratory tract infections (ARTIs), which are an important factor driving antibiotic use. Results: During the COVID-19 epidemic in South Korea, the broad-spectrum antibiotic use dropped by 15%-55% compared to the previous 3 years. Overall reduction in antibiotic use adjusting for ARTIs was estimated to be 14%-30%, with a larger impact in children. Conclusions: Our study found that broad-spectrum antibiotic use was substantially reduced during the COVID-19 epidemic in South Korea. This reduction can be in part due to reduced ARTIs as a result of stringent public health interventions including social distancing measures.

History

Journal

Journal of Infectious Diseases

Volume

224

Pagination

949-955

Location

United States

ISSN

0022-1899

eISSN

1537-6613

Language

en

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Issue

6

Publisher

Oxford University Press (OUP)