The excessive use of antibiotics is associated with resistance to these drugs and an increasing threat to global health. Antibiotics are also often unnecessarily and inappropriately prescribed. This is an issue that has been frequently addressed by health information campaigns.
Campaigns can be moderately effective in restricting the excessive use of antibiotics although limits in study design make their evaluation difficult.
Italy has among the highest antibiotic use in Europe. There has, however, been a decrease in the last few years to coincide with two national information campaigns, but without direct involvement from health professionals.
Researchers from Italy therefore looked to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of a local information campaign, aimed at reducing antibiotic prescriptions by increasing awareness on threats of unnecessary use. They wanted to test the hypothesis that a campaign could be feasibly implemented within Local Health Authorities and reduce antibiotic prescriptions.
The study was a community level, controlled trial: the campaign was implemented in the Italian provinces of Modena and Parma from 2011-2012. Provinces in the same region where no campaign had been implemented were used as the contro