Antibiotic use in France is increasing and is worrying health authorities

Antibiotic consumption, which had fallen at the start of Covid-19 in France, rose again for the second year in a row in 2022. especially in children. “If overall antibiotic consumption continues to trend downward since 2012, it will have increased at a more sustainable pace in 2022 than in 2021”indicates Public Health France (SPF). in his annual study published this Monday.

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The increase is clear: +16.6% of prescriptions, i.e. more than 800 antibiotic prescriptions per 1,000 inhabitants in the year, and +14% of doses consumed in the city (excluding hospitals), i.e. 21.6 doses per 1,000 inhabitants and per day.

Decline in consumption due to the pandemic

While “The Covid pandemic had shown a breakthrough”we notice “a two-year increase in consumption, returning to 2019 levels”indicates Laëtitia Gambotti, head of the healthcare-related infections and antibiotic resistance unit at Public Health France.

“We had some hope that the decline observed in 2020 could continue, or at least that we would maintain something, but as in other European countries this was not the case”said Dr. Anne Berger-Carbonne, another health department specialist.

The year 2020 remains unique: the strict anti-Covid measures (lockdowns, barrier gestures) had reduces the frequency of bacterial infections, but also access to care. “2021 and 2022 saw a resumption of common winter infections, medical consultations and antibiotic prescriptions, especially in the latter quarters. pointed to SpF. This increase “However, it remains at a level slightly lower than that of 2019”before the Covid pandemic, the agency qualified.

Greater increase in children

On the other hand, antibiotic consumption among children returned to or even exceeded pre-pandemic levels in 2022. “The increase is greater among 0-14 year olds, population groups that are more susceptible to winter epidemics,” Laëtitia Gambotti noted.

However, the 2022-2023 season was marked by one triple epidemic of influenza-bronchiolitis-Covidbut also other pathologies – although partly viral – that affected the consumption of antibiotics, especially at the end of the year.

The flu caused an epidemic “exceptionally long and early”bronchiolitis has reached an amplitude “very significantly higher than previous years”THE acute gastroenteritis have returned to levels comparable to pre-pandemic levels, SpF noted.

More consuming regions

In addition to age groups, antibiotic consumption also varies by region, where differences have generally been stable for about a decade. Corsica and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur appear as the most users, the Pays de la Loire and the overseas departments as the least consumers.

But in general, “France remains one of the five European countries with the highest antibiotic consumption“, noted Laëtitia Gambotti. But the resistance to antibioticswhich global health authorities have been concerned about for years, is exacerbated by the excessive or inappropriate consumption of these treatments.

Reducing the consumption of antibiotics is an objective of health authorities, in France and in other countries delay the appearance of resistant bacteria. “Otherwise, there is a long-term risk that we will no longer have the therapeutic arsenal for certain bacterial diseases, which can cause mortality, especially among the most vulnerable.”recalled Laëtitia Gambotti.

To increase awareness again, SPF will be broadcasting another campaign from December on the correct use of antibiotics (“taking good care means first using them properly”). only effective against bacterial infectionswithout any benefit against viral infections such as bronchiolitis or flu.

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