Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub,
MD, Senior Editor.
To the Editor: Two public campaigns for more
rational use of antibiotics were organized in Belgium in 2000-2001 and 2001-2002
with a goal of reducing overuse and misuse of antibiotics in the community.
We assessed their effectiveness with a time-series analysis that examined
changes in antibiotic sales, accounting for the confounding effect of the
seasonal variation of influenza-like illnesses (ILIs).
Each 3-month campaign concentrated on simple messages, together with
a series of specific answers on topics of interest, that were conveyed through
booklets, handouts, posters, prime-time television spots, and Web sites.1 Examples included “Use antibiotics less frequently
but better”; “Save antibiotics, they may save your life”;
and “Talk to your Doctor, Talk to your Pharmacist.” Monthly outpatient
antibiotic use in the community was estimated for the 1996-2002 period by
extrapolation from sales data that covered 80.1% of all community pharmacies
and 76.1% of the population. Sales data were converted to defined daily doses
(DDDs).2 This unit is the assumed average maintenance
dose per day for a drug used in adults for its main indication as defined
by the World Health Organization; it allows for direct comparisons of drug
use over time and place. National yearly gross antibiotic sales data were
obtained from Intercontinental Marketing Services (IMS-Health) over the 1996-2002
period. In Belgium, antibiotics are available by prescription only.
Bauraind I, Lopez-Lozano J, Beyaert A, Marchal J, Seys B, Yane F, Hendrickx E, Goossens H, Tulkens PM, Verbist L. Association Between Antibiotic Sales and Public Campaigns for Their
Appropriate Use. JAMA. 2004;292(20):2465-2470. doi:10.1001/jama.292.20.2468-b