Rates and determinants of antibiotics and probiotics prescription to children in Asia-Pacific countries

J. Zhang, D. Cameron, S. H. Quak, M. Kadim, N. Mohan, E. Ryoo, B. Sandhu, Y. Yamashiro, A. Guarino, H. Hoekstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Antibiotic therapy may have important side effects. Guidelines recommend the administration of specific probiotics to reduce the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea (AAD). The rates and determinants of antibiotics and co-prescription of probiotics in children remain poorly known in Asia-Pacific countries, which are very heterogenous in terms of economic development, health care organization and health policies. A survey among general practitioners (GPs) and paediatricians was performed in seven countries of the Asia-Pacific area (Australia, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Singapore, and South Korea). Physicians completed an online questionnaire that explored their current habits and the determinants for prescribing antibiotics and probiotics. For the 731 physicians who completed the questionnaire (390 paediatricians and 341 GPs), 37% of all consultations for a child led to the prescription of antibiotics (ranging from 17% in Australia to 47% in India). A large majority of physicians (84%) agreed that antibiotics disrupted gut microbiota and considered probiotics an effective intervention to prevent AAD (68%). However, only 33% co-prescribed probiotics with antibiotics (ranging from 13% in Japan to 60% in South Korea). The main reasons for prescribing probiotics were previous episodes of AAD (61%), presence of diarrhoea (55%), prolonged antibiotic treatment (54%) or amoxicillin-clavulanic acid therapy (54%). Although current local guidelines recommend the use of selected probiotics in children receiving antibiotics in Asia-Pacific area, the rates of antibiotics and probiotics prescription significantly vary among countries and are deeply affected by country-related cultural and organisational issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-338
Number of pages10
JournalBeneficial microbes
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2020


  • antibiotic-associated diarrhoea
  • antibiotics prescriptions
  • antibiotics resistance
  • microbiota
  • probiotics


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