Early career general practitioner prescribing habits – the kids are alright!

Reviewed by Jen Cihlar, DO, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

This systematic review comprising of 41 relevant studies looking at antibiotic prescribing habits for acute infections among early career general practitioners (GP). Studies that included multiple countries of representation predominantly looked at acute respiratory infections, noting varied rates of prescribing among early-career GPs from 15.9% in Sweden up to 73% in Australia. While these prescribing rates still indicate improvements can be made with antibiotic utilization, early-career GPs were less likely to prescribe than later career GPs (OR range 0.23-0.67). The authors speculate that this could reflect how early career GPs begin their career with more evidence-based prescribing but change over time due to a variety of pressures, patient, financial, time, and lack of upkeep with evidence-based medicine. On a more positive note, the authors theorized this could indeed reflect increased awareness of the younger generation towards antibiotic stewardship and could be a promising harbinger for the future of this continued culture shift highlighting the importance of incorporating stewardship emphasis early in medical training as many habit-forming practices occur early in one’s career.

Reference: Baillie EJ, Merlo G, Van Driel ML, Magin PJ, Hall L. Early-career general practitioners’ antibiotic prescribing for acute infections: a systematic review. J Antimicrob Chemother. Published online January 22, 2024. doi:10.1093/jac/dkae002

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