REVIEW – April 2004

Antibiotic prescriptions for children


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The aim of the present study was to determine the patterns of use of antibiotics in children in relation to age and the prescribing physician, as well as the regional and annual differences using the database on reimbursement of medicines of the Estonian Health Insurance. Sixty-eight percent of children under 4 years of age received an antibiotic  prescription in 2001. One-third of the children received at least two prescriptions and onetenth, on average 5 antibiotic prescriptions during the study year. When calculating the total amount of antibiotics prescribed and purchased, average amount was equal to 30 treatment days per child who received an antibiotic. One-tenth of the children receiving most antibiotic prescriptions had at hand 72 daily doses. The prescription patterns for children, as described in this study, confirm the overuse of antibiotics in treatment of infections in Estonia.