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Identifying Antibiotic Prescribing Patterns Through Multi-Level Latent Profile Analyses: A Cross-Sectional Survey of Primary Care Physicians

journal contribution
posted on 18.01.2021, 02:38 by D Wang, Chaojie Liu, X Zhang, C Liu
© Copyright © 2020 Wang, Liu, Zhang and Liu. Background: Overuse of antibiotics significantly fuels the development of Antimicrobial resistance, which threating the global population health. Great variations existed in antibiotic prescribing practices among physicians, indicating improvement potential for rational use of antibiotics. This study aims to identify antibiotic prescribing patterns of primary care physicians and potential determinants. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted on 551 physicians from 67 primary care facilities in Hubei selected through random cluster sampling, tapping into their knowledge, attitudes and prescribing practices toward antibiotics. Prescriptions (n = 501,072) made by the participants from 1 January to March 31, 2018 were extracted from the medical records system. Seven indicators were calculated for each prescriber: average number of medicines per prescription, average number of antibiotics per prescription, percentage of prescriptions containing antibiotics, percentage of antibiotic prescriptions containing broad-spectrum antibiotics, percentage of antibiotic prescriptions containing parenteral administered antibiotics, percentage of antibiotic prescriptions containing restricted antibiotics, and percentage of antibiotic prescriptions containing antibiotics included in the WHO “Watch and Reserve” list. Two-level latent profile analyses were performed to identify the antibiotic prescribing patterns of physicians based on those indicators. Multi-nominal logistic regression models were established to identify determinants with the antibiotic prescribing patterns. Results: On average, each primary care physician issued 909 (ranging from 100 to 11,941 with a median of 474) prescriptions over the study period. The mean percentage of prescriptions containing antibiotics issued by the physicians reached 52.19% (SD = 17.20%). Of those antibiotic prescriptions, an average of 82.29% (SD = 15.83%) contained broad-spectrum antibiotics; 71.92% (SD = 21.42%) contained parenteral administered antibiotics; 23.52% (SD = 19.12%) contained antibiotics restricted by the regional government; and 67.74% (SD = 20.98%) contained antibiotics listed in the WHO “Watch and Reserve” list. About 28.49% of the prescribers were identified as low antibiotic users, compared with 51.18% medium users and 20.33% high users. Higher use of antibiotics was associated with insufficient knowledge, indifference to changes, complacency with satisfied patients, low household income and rural location of the prescribers. Conclusion: Great variation in antibiotic prescribing patterns exists among primary care physicians in Hubei of China. High use of antibiotics is not only associated with knowledge shortfalls but also low socioeconomic status of prescribers.


This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 71373092 & 71904053). The funding body played no part in the study design, collection, analysis and interpretation of data, writing of the manuscript or the decision to submit the manuscript for publication.


Publication Date



Frontiers in Pharmacology



Article Number

ARTN 591709







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