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Doctors trained in complementary medicine prescribe fewer antibiotics

23 Apr 2018

A new review of the prescribing practices of 7,300 National Health Service general practice surgeries in the UK demonstrates that surgeries employing general practitioners additionally trained in integrated medicine or complementary and alternative medicine have lower antibiotic prescribing rates.

The study, newly published in the British Medical Journal, sought to determine differences in antibiotic prescription rates between conventional General Practice surgeries and surgeries employing general practitioners additionally trained in integrative medicine or complementary and alternative medicine. The analysis showed that statistically significant fewer total antibiotics and respiratory tract infection antibiotics were prescribed at integrated medicine surgeries compared with conventional surgeries. In contrast, the number of antibiotics prescribed for urinary tract infections were similar between both types of practice.

The study recommends the exploration of additional treatment strategies for common primary care infections used by integrated medicine general practitioners to see if they could be used to assist in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.

van der Werf ET, Duncan LJ, Flotow P, Baars EW. 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. BMJ Open 2018;8:e020488. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2017-020488