Investigating the impact of COVID-19 on primary care antibiotic prescribing in North West London across two epidemic waves
Individual prescribing records between 2015 and 2020 for 2 million residents in North West London were analysed. Prescribing records were linked to SARS-CoV-2 test results. Prescribing volumes, in total, and stratified by patient characteristics, antibiotic class, and AWaRe classification, were investigated. Interrupted time series analysis was performed to detect measurable change in the trend of prescribing volume since the national lockdown in March 2020, immediately before the first COVID-19 peak in London.
A sustained reduction in community antibiotic prescribing was observed since the first lockdown. Investigation of community-onset infectious diseases and potential unintended consequences of reduced prescribing is urgently needed.
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