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Ciprofloxacin prescriptions increase despite C. diff risks

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A Scottish health report has found that prescriptions for the commonly-used antibiotic ciprofloxacin, thought to increase the risk of infection from C. diff, have increased by 30 per cent in four years.

The Scottish Antimicrobial Prescribing Group (SAPG) has found that prescriptions of ciprofloxacin rose by nearly a third between 2004 and 2008, stoking fears that “inappropriate” prescriptions may be fuelling the threat posed by drug-resistant bacteria such as Clostridium difficile (C. diff).

The report also found that prescriptions of another drug, co-amoxiclav, increased by 22 per cent over the same time period - while GP prescriptions overall increased by 18.3 per cent.

The SAPG report said growing resistance to drugs used in antimicrobial treatment was a “major threat to public health and patient safety”, adding that the unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin, “will increase the risk of antimicrobial resistance developing”.

According to the report, some four million cases of healthcare-associated infection are reported each year in the EU, 37,000 of them proving fatal.

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