Skip to main content

Control of antibiotic therapy in paediatric patients

II. Appropriateness of antibiotic choice in selected diseases


The adequacy of antibiotic choice and the importance of the physician's knowledge of antibiotic use in causing errors in prescribing were investigated. A prospective three-month study was conducted in nine Italian pediatric hospital wards, involving every patient admitted to hospital for otitis, pneumonia or pharyngotonsillitis. The suspected aetiology and the antibiotic prescribed were recorded on a special form by the physician in charge. Each choice of antimicrobial agent was judged as adequate, justifiable or not justified. Out of 314 prescriptions 56.1% were assessed as adequate, 4.1% as justifiable and 39.8% as not justified. Analysis of the suspected bacteria, and of the correlation between the presumed aetiological agent and the prescribed antibiotic, demonstrates that inadequate knowledge of the physician plays a major role in producing a high percentage of unjustified prescriptions.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. Gibbs CW Jr, Gibson JT, Newton DS (1973) Drug utilization review of actual versus preferred pediatric antibiotic therapy. Am J Hosp Pharm 30: 892–897

    Google Scholar 

  2. Kunin CM, Tupasi T, Craig NA (1973) Use of antibiotics. A brief exposition of the problem and some tentative solutions. Ann Intern Med 79: 555–560

    Google Scholar 

  3. Achong MR, Hauser BA, Krusky JL (1977) Rational and irrational use of antibiotics in a Canadian teaching hospital. Can Med Assoc J 116: 256–259

    Google Scholar 

  4. Maki D, Shuna AA (1978) A study of antimicrobial misuse in a university hospital. Am J Med Sci 275: 271–282

    Google Scholar 

  5. Neu HC, Howrey SP (1975) Testing the physician's knowledge of antibiotic use. N Engl J Med 293: 1291–1295

    Google Scholar 

  6. Gomez J, Erill S (1979) Image of systemic antimicrobial agents as perceived by physicians in a 900 bed hospital. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 15: 127–132

    Google Scholar 

  7. Paulon G, Loik F, Longo G, Panizon F (1979) Uso degli antibiotici nella pratica pediatrica: analisi di un malcostume. Riv Ital Ped (I J P) 5: 625–634

    Google Scholar 

  8. Principi N, Sher D, Moresco RC, Marchisio P, Boccazzi A, Viola G, Sereni F (1981) Control of antibiotic therapy in pediatric patients. I. A computer system to collect and analyze antibiotic prescriptions in hospitals. Dev Pharmacol Ther 2: 145–155

    Google Scholar 

  9. McCracken GH, Eichenwald HF (1978) Antimicrobial therapy in infants and children. Part II. Therapy of infectious conditions. J Pediatr 93: 357–377

    Google Scholar 

  10. Spratt HC, Ahronheim GA, Marks MI (1978) Common bacterial infections in infancy. I. Respiratory infections. Drugs 16: 115–135

    Google Scholar 

  11. Peter G, Gardner P (1974) Antibiotics and infectious diseases. In: Graef JW, Cone TE (eds) Manual od pediatric therapeutics. Little Brown, Boston

    Google Scholar 

  12. Root RK, Hierholzer WJ Jr (1978) Infectious Diseases. In: Melmon KL, Morrelli HF (eds) Clinical Pharmacology. Macmillan, New York

    Google Scholar 

  13. Jones SR, Barks J, Bratton T, McRee E, Pannell J, Yanchick VA, Browne R, Smith JW (1977) The effect of an educational program upon hospital antibiotic use. Am J Med Sci 273: 79–85

    Google Scholar 

  14. Achong MR, Theal HK, Wood J, Goldberg R (1977) Changes in hospital antibiotic therapy after a quality-of-use study. Lancet 2: 1118–1122

    Google Scholar 

  15. Kunin CM (1978) Problems of antibiotic usage. Definitions, causes and proposed solutions. Ann Intern Med 89: 802–805

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Principi, N., Marchisio, P., Sher, D. et al. Control of antibiotic therapy in paediatric patients. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 20, 119–121 (1981).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Key words

  • paediatrics
  • antibiotic choice
  • rational therapy
  • acute infections
  • drug monitoring
  • unjustified prescriptions