Systemic antibiotics and asthma medicines dispensed to 0−12 year olds significantly decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020

Marjut Haapanen, Marjo Renko, Miia Artama, Ilari Kuitunen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Aim: Nationwide lockdowns and social restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have reduced childhood infections. We assessed how many items of systemic antibiotics and asthma medicines were dispensed to children aged 0−12 years in Finland before and during the pandemic and analysed the reimbursement costs. Methods: The data came from the national Finnish register of reimbursable prescriptions, which is maintained by the country's Social Insurance Institution. It included all prescriptions for antibiotics and asthma medicines dispensed to children aged 0−12 years in 2019 and 2020. Prescription rates per 1000 children were calculated for each quarter and compared using rate ratios and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). Results: Overall dispensing for antibiotics decreased by 55.3% and was most prominent for macrolides for children aged 0−5 years (59.6%, 95% CI 60.9%−58.2%). Asthma medicines decreased by 19.8%, and the most prominent reduction was in short-acting beta-agonists for children aged 0−5 years (35.2%, 95% CI 36.1%−34.2%). These reduced reimbursement costs by 3.4 million Euros from 2019 to 2020. Conclusion: This nationwide study showed that the number of antibiotics and asthma medicines decreased by 59.6% and 19.8% respectively from 2019 to 2020, generating a cost saving of 3.4 million Euros.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376-382
JournalActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics
Volume111
Issue number2
Early online date8 Oct 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • antibiotics
  • asthma medication
  • childhood infections
  • pandemic
  • reimbursement costs

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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