Global threat of antibiotic resistance discussed at Gold Coast conference

December 4, 2014

The major global health threat of antibiotic resistance, including the overprescribing of antibiotics to children, will be discussed as part of the Gold Coast Health and Medical Research Conference 2014.

The conference, being held at the Mercure Resort in Carrara on December 4 and 5, will include presentations from Bond University, Griffith University and Southern Cross University, along with Queensland Health.

Bond University researchers will present on more than 20 topics, including the growing concern about antibiotic resistance.

Dr Amanda McCullough, of Bond's Centre for Research in Evidence-Based Practice, will present her findings on a review of 37 studies that looked into healthcare professionals' knowledge and attitudes toward antibiotic resistance.

Dr McCullough said the study found healthcare professionals recognised using too many antibiotics (85 per cent of participants), using them for inappropriate indications (81 per cent) and using broad-spectrum antibiotics (89 per cent) caused resistance.

However, she said the research revealed while they accepted antibiotic resistance was an issue, many did not view their practices as contributing to the problem.

"Only 62 per cent of general practitioners recognised it as being a problem for their practice," she said.

Fellow Bond University researcher, Peter Coxeter, said antibiotics continued to be overprescribed to children with acute respiratory infections - the focus of his presentation at the conference.

“One driver for over-prescription was parents' expectations for an antibiotic and the subsequent pressure felt by clinicians to meet this,” he said.

"Overuse of antibiotics continues to occur, despite strong evidence they have limited benefit and harms associated with their use, including antibiotic resistance and other side effects.

"Many parents believe antibiotics provide benefits in children with acute middle ear infection, sore throat and cough, and overestimate these benefits in terms of the illness duration.”

Mr Coxeter said most parents also believed there could be harms from using antibiotic for acute respiratory illnesses in children.

"We found 75 per cent of parents wanted more involvement in future decisions about whether to use antibiotics for their children's illness,” he said.

"There needs to be a greater focus on shared decision making, in which the evidence of benefits and harms are clearly communicated so doctors and parents can jointly participate in treatment of management decisions about the best care."

Bond University researchers will also present findings on a broad range of areas, including the prevalence estimate of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, solving research waste, prevalence of incidental prostate cancer, the preliminary evaluation of the Bond Diabetes Intervention and public opinions about over diagnosis.

ENDS