The Family Physician and Referral System was piloted in Mazandaran and Fars provinces, Iran in 2012. The goal of this program was to improve the provision of health services including medication prescription.
This study aimed to determine the trends in antibiotic prescribing in outpatient before and after implementation of the Family Physician and Referral System in Babol, Iran from 2010 to 2018.
In this retrospective study, all prescriptions of urban family physicians in Babol, which were registered in the database of the Health Services Insurance Organization of Mazandaran province, were included. The trends of average number of items per prescription, percentage of antibiotics per prescription, frequency of antibiotic groups, and cost of antibiotics were calculated using SQL Server and IBM SPSS version 22.
The average number of items per prescription was found to be 3.4±1.82, and 2.8±1.60, and percentage of antibiotics per prescription was 49% and 32% in 2010 and 2018, respectively. The most prescribed antibiotic groups were penicillin (54.8%) and cephalosporin (39.9%). Amoxicillin 500mg capsules (13.1%), metronidazole 250 mg (10.2%), and ciprofloxacin 500 mg (8.2%) were the most prescribed antibiotics. Also, the mean cost of prescriptions containing antibiotics compared to the total prescriptions had decreased from 22% in 2010 to 5.5% in 2018.
The pattern of medication prescription especially antibiotics, improved after the implementation of the Family Physician and Referral System. Due to the positive impact of the Family Physician and Referral System on medication prescription by physicians, we recommend the implementation of this program in low and middle-income countries.
Keywords: Antibiotic, medication prescribing, Health system reform plan, Family physician, Trend