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Excess drug prescriptions during influenza and RSV seasons in the Netherlands: Potential implications for extended influenza vaccination

By M.D. Assink, J.P. Kiewiet, M.H. Rozenbaum, P.B. van den Berg, E. Hak, E.J. Buskens, J.C. Wilschut, A.C. Kroes and M.J. Postma


Influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections are responsible for considerable morbidity, mortality and health-care resource use. For the Netherlands, we estimated age and risk-group specific numbers of antibiotics, otologicals and cardiovascular prescriptions per 10,000 person-years during periods with elevated activity of influenza or RSV, and compared these with peri-season rates. Data were taken from the University of Groningen in-house prescription database ( and virological surveillance for the period 1998-2006. During influenza and RSV periods excess antibiotic prescriptions were estimated for all age groups. In the age groups 0-1 and 2-4 years, excess antibiotic prescriptions during periods with elevated RSV activity (65% and 59% of peri-seasonal rates) exceeded the surpluses estimated during the influenza-activity periods (24% and 34% of peri-seasonal rates) while for otologicals excess prescriptions were higher for influenza (22% and 27%) than for RSV (14% and 17%). Among persons of 50 years and older, notably those without medical high-risk conditions, excess prescriptions for cardiovascular medications were estimated during the influenza periods at approximately 10% (this was also already seen in persons aged 45-49). Our results may have implications for influenza vaccination policies. In particular, extension of influenza vaccination to groups of non-elderly adults and young children may lower excess prescriptions during these influenza periods for all three types of drug prescriptions investigated

Year: 2009
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