Study shows integrative doctors heed antibiotic warnings

The World Health Organisation (WHO) again warned about high rates of antibiotic resistance. It has noted that a growing number of infections, such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhoea and salmonellosis are becoming harder to treat.

Yet prescription rates of antibiotics continue to exceed what is clinically justified, especially in Respiratory Tract Infections (RTIs).

It seems that changing the long-ingrained behaviour of  medical practitioners may prove an uphill battle.

But a study in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has shown that Integrative doctors, who are generally less inclined towards reliance on pharmaceutical-only approaches, may also prescribe fewer antibiotics than their conventional counterparts.

The retrospective study of 7,283 NHS GP surgeries in England, compared antibiotic prescribing rates for total prescribed, Respiratory Tract Infection (RTI) and Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) between conventional NHS GP surgeries and NHS IM /CAM surgeries.

The study concluded that total antibiotic prescribing rates are lower at NHS GP surgeries with an IM General Practitoner.

This has potentially important implications for continued over-prescription in medical practice, which can contribute to adverse patient events, wasted healthcare resources and a rise in antimicrobial resistance.

“The difference seen in antibiotic prescribing rates at IM GP surgeries, warrants further study” the authors say.

Study: Do NHS GP surgeries employing GPs additionally trained in integrative or complementary medicine have lower antibiotic prescribing rates? Retrospective cross-sectional analysis of national primary care prescribing data in England in 2016 by Esther T van der Werf, Lorna J Duncan, Paschen von Flotow, Erik W Baars in BMJ Open