Selection and co-selection of antibiotic resistances among Escherichia coli by antibiotic use in primary care: an ecological analysis
Pouwels KB., Muller-Pebody B., Smieszek T., Hopkins S., Robotham JV.
<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>The majority of studies that link antibiotic usage and resistance focus on simple associations between the resistance against a specific antibiotic and the use of that specific antibiotic. However, the relationship between antibiotic use and resistance is more complex. Here we evaluate which antibiotics, including those mainly prescribed for respiratory tract infections, are associated with increased resistance among <jats:italic>Escherichia coli</jats:italic> isolated from urinary samples.</jats:p><jats:p>Monthly primary care prescribing data were obtained from National Health Service (NHS) Digital. Positive <jats:italic>E. coli</jats:italic> records from urine samples in English primary care (n=888,207) between April 2014 and January 2016 were obtained from the Second Generation Surveillance System. Elastic net regularization was used to evaluate associations between prescribing of different antibiotic groups and resistance against amoxicillin, cephalexin, ciprofloxacin, co-amoxiclav and nitrofurantoin at the clinical commissioning group (CCG) level. England is divided into 209 CCGs, with each NHS practice prolonging to one CCG.</jats:p><jats:p>Amoxicillin prescribing (measured in DDD/ 1000 inhabitants / day) was positively associated with amoxicillin (RR 1.03, 95% CI 1.01 – 1.04) and ciprofloxacin (RR 1.09, 95% CI 1.04 – 1.17) resistance. In contrast, nitrofurantoin prescribing was associated with lower levels of resistance to amoxicillin (RR 0.92, 95% CI 0.84 – 0.97). CCGs with higher levels of trimethoprim prescribing also had higher levels of ciprofloxacin resistance (RR 1.34, 95% CI 1.10 – 1.59).</jats:p><jats:p>Amoxicillin, which is mainly (and often unnecessarily) prescribed for respiratory tract infections is associated with increased resistance against various antibiotics among <jats:italic>E. coli</jats:italic> causing urinary tract infections. Our findings suggest that when predicting the potential impact of interventions on antibiotic resistances it is important to account for use of other antibiotics, including those typically used for other indications.</jats:p><jats:sec><jats:title>Author summary</jats:title><jats:p>Antibiotic resistance is increasingly recognised as a threat to modern healthcare. Effective antibiotics are crucial for treatment of serious bacterial infections and are necessary to avoid that complicated surgical procedures and chemotherapy becoming life-threatening. Antibiotic use is one of the main drivers of antibiotic resistance. The majority of antibiotic prescriptions are prescribed in primary care, however, a large proportion of these antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary. Understanding which antibiotics are causing antibiotic resistance to what extent is needed to prevent under- or over-investment in interventions lowering use of specific antibiotics, such as rapid diagnostic tests for respiratory tract infection.</jats:p><jats:p>We have statistically evaluated which antibiotics are associated with higher and lower levels of antibiotic resistance against common antibiotics among <jats:italic>Escherichia coli</jats:italic> bacteria sampled from the urinary tract by comparing antibiotic prescribing and resistance in different geographical areas in England. Our model shows that amoxicillin, the most commonly used antibiotic in England and mainly used for respiratory tract infections, is associated with increased resistance against several other antibiotics among bacteria causing urinary tract infections. The methods used in this study, that overcome several of the limitations of previous studies, can be used to explore the complex relationships between antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance in other settings.</jats:p></jats:sec>