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Antibiotic prescriptions drop but diabetes drugs rise

Friday 15th July 2016
A new report has shown that doctors are prescribing fewer antibiotics to patients, but numbers of other drugs have risen. Image Credit: FabioBalbi via iStock
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A new report has shown that the number antibiotic prescriptions has fallen, which is positive for those concerned about increasing levels of resistance to this commonly used drug type.

Widely thought to be caused by overprescribing, the reduction in the amount of antibiotics being used should help tackle the rising number of infections that develop resistance to them, as well as cutting healthcare costs.

Compared to the same period in 2014, prescriptions for antibacterial medicines - which are mainly made up of antibiotics - dropped by more than five per cent.

However, the figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre report found that prescriptions of antidepressants and drugs to tackle diabetes had risen during the same period.

The data shows that more than a billion prescriptions were given out during 2015, which is more than twice the levels of a decade ago. It also found that the diabetes drugs remained the most expensive medication given out on the NHS, with the report estimating that it cost the health service £2.6 million every day.

It is hoped that lifestyle changes to prevent type 2 diabetes will help to reduce the amount of money spent on drugs to help manage the condition.

Some of the most common risk factors, such as obesity, smoking and a lack of exercise, can potentially be reversed, enabling people to reduce the likelihood of getting diabetes. However, there are concerns about low engagement levels with interventions to tackle these problems.

The report, which looked at the number of items written on prescriptions given out by doctors, dentists, nurses and pharmacists during the past 12 months, found that antidepressants were also one of the most costly to the NHS. According to the figures, these types of drugs cost the health service £780,000 per day.

With a rising number of people seeking help for depression and other mental health problems, this could be an ongoing trend.

Written by James Puckle

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