An association between socioeconomic deprivation and primary care antibiotic prescribing in Scotland

Jordan R. Covvey, Blair F. Johnston, Victoria Elliott, William Malcolm, Alexander B. Mullen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of this item is to evaluate the association between socioeconomic deprivation and antibiotic prescribing in Scotland.  Data for dispensed antibiotic prescriptions written by general practitioners were obtained for all Scottish National Health Service boards from 2010 to 2012. Deprivation was assessed linking dispensing events to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) score for the patient's datazone (neighbourhood area). The relationship between the deprivation area and antibiotic use (items per 1000 persons per day) was stratified according to the patient's age and sex and the antibiotic class dispensed. A multivariate Poisson regression model was used to formally test the associations.  Approximately 12 million prescription items during 2010-2012 were assessed. Patients in the most deprived SIMD quintile had an overall prescription rate that was 36.5% higher than those in the least deprived quintile. The effect of deprivation upon prescription rates was most pronounced for women aged 40-59 years, and for penicillins and metronidazole.  Deprivation was found to have a consistent association with increased rates of antibiotic prescribing in Scotland, which may have significant implications for antimicrobial stewardship and public health campaigns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)835-841
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number3
Early online date31 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


  • antimicrobial stewardship
  • database
  • public health


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