HealthDay News — General practitioners (GPs) additionally trained in integrative medicine or complementary and alternative medicine (IM GPs) have lower antibiotic prescribing rates after general surgery than traditional practitioners, according to a study published in the March issue of BMJ Open.

Esther T. van der Werf, PhD, from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, and colleagues used National Health Service data to retrospectively assess 2016 antibiotic prescription rates per Specific Therapeutic group Age-sex weighting Related Prescribing Unit for GPs vs IM GPs who conducted 7283 general practice surgeries.

The researchers found that IM GP and conventional GP surgeries were comparable in terms of list sizes, demographics, deprivation scores, and comorbidity prevalence.

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However, significantly fewer total antibiotics (relative risk [RR], 0.78) and antibiotics for respiratory tract infection (RR, 0.74) were prescribed for IM GP surgeries vs conventional GP surgeries. However, the number of antibiotics prescribed for urinary tract infection was similar between the practices.

“Additional treatment strategies for common primary care infections used by IM GPs should be explored to see if they could be used to assist in the fight against antimicrobial resistance,” the authors wrote.

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van der Werf E, Duncan LJ, von Flotow P, Baars EW. Do NHS GP surgeries employing GPs additionally trained in integrative or complementary medicine have lower antibiotic prescribing rates? Retrospective cross-sectional analysis of national primary care prescribing data in England in 2016. BMJ Open. 2018 Mar 5;8(3):e020488.