Antibiotics, Solution or Problem?

From November 2011 to February 2012, a campaign focused on the public and individual health threats of unnecessary antibiotic use was implemented in the Italian provinces of Modena and Parma. To encourage public participation, campaign developers used consumer research to design messages that would be relevant, appealing, and easy for the campaign’s target audience to understand. With the help of 13 general practitioners, messaging was developed, and soon after, materials were produced and delivered to Modena and Parma residents via posters, brochures, and advertisements in local media. A newsletter containing tailored information on antibiotic resistance for doctors and pharmacists was also created. Provinces in the same region as Modena and Parma that were not included in the campaign were used as a control group. Throughout the duration of the campaign, researchers examined antibiotic prescription rates to determine if any changes were taking place. This evaluation revealed that there was a 4.3% reduction in antibiotic prescribing in areas where the campaign was active compared with the control area. While decreases were observed, campaign developers attributed the reduction in the prescribing of antibiotics to doctors’ endorsements and/or awareness of the campaign rather than changes in the knowledge or attitudes of the target population.

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