Friday, 27 May, 2022
HomeWeekly RoundupCrackdown in antibiotic prescribing blamed for increase in UTIs in the UK

Crackdown in antibiotic prescribing blamed for increase in UTIs in the UK

Thousands of women in the UK were taken to hospital with chronic urinary tract infections in the past year, according to National Health Service (NHS) figures that reveal a striking rise in the numbers seeking medical help for the condition. The Guardian reports that more than 12,000 patients, the majority women, attended hospital with persistent urinary tract infections (UTIs) or cystitis last year, up from around 4,500 in 2001.

Experts warned that the increase could be linked to a crackdown on the prescribing of antibiotics by GPs owing to fears about antimicrobial resistance (AMR), resulting in some patients developing intractable infections that require admission to hospital.

Professor Jonathan Duckett, a consultant urogynaecologist and chair of the British Association of Urogynaecologists, said: “We’re on a drive to decrease antibiotic prescriptions … and the side-effect of the drive to cut antibiotic use is that you see more serious infections. That’s how I interpret it.”

The report says others said that antimicrobial resistance itself, which means that some infections can no longer be treated with first line drugs, could also be driving the trend. Meghan Perry, a senior clinical research fellow at the University of Edinburgh, said there is evidence that the more courses of antibiotics a patient receives, the more likely they are to have a multi-drug resistant infection. Perry said this did not rule out prescribing practices also playing a role. “It’s hard to dissect and there could be multiple factors,” she said.

Overall admissions for UTIs generally (as opposed to persistent infections) also more than doubled, from 73,000 in 2001 to 172,000 last year and the figures ramp up steadily year on year.

The report says figures obtained independently by the patient campaign group Cutic also showed a 54% increase in A&E admissions for UTI between 2012 and 2016 and a 34% rise in diagnoses of urosepsis, a life-threatening complication.

[link url="https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/oct/04/rise-in-persistent-urinary-tract-infections-could-be-linked-to-antibiotics-crackdown"]The Guardian report[/link]

MedicalBrief — our free weekly e-newsletter

We'd appeciate as much information as possible, however only an email address is required.