Antibiotics prescribing is frequently in the press due to the increasing threat of antimicrobial resistance. In January 2019, the UK Government published its plans to help contain and control antimicrobial resistance including a target of reducing the use of antibiotics in humans by 15% by 2040. Our prescribing data for England, Northern Ireland and Wales shows the number of prescription items for all types of antibiotics fell by 3% between 2017 and 2018.
Penicillin is the most frequently prescribed class of antibiotic, accounting for almost 50% of all prescription items for antibiotics. This class includes the top two prescribed antibiotics - amoxicillin and flucloxacillin sodium. Tetracyclines, macrolides, nitrofurans and sulfonamides together accounted for a further 44% of all antibiotic prescribing in 2018.