Impact of introduction of rapid diagnostic tests for malaria on antibiotic prescribing: analysis of observational and randomised studies in public and private healthcare settings

by Heidi Hopkins, Katia J Bruxvoort, Matthew E Cairns et al.
BMJ 2017; 356 – Published 29 March 2017

10 pp. 495 kB
http://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/356/bmj.j1054.full.pdf

The objective of the study was to examine the impact of use of rapid diagnostic tests for malaria on prescribing of antimicrobials, specifically antibiotics, for acute febrile illness in Africa and Asia. The authors conclude that introduction of rapid diagnostic tests for malaria to reduce unnecessary use of antimalarials – a beneficial public health outcome – could drive up untargeted use of antibiotics. It is often assumed that better disease specific diagnostics will reduce antimicrobial overuse, but they might simply shift it from one antimicrobial class to another. Current global implementation of malaria testing might increase untargeted antibiotic use and must be examined.

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