LONDON, September 8 /PRNewswire/ --

Antibiotics are still being over-prescribed by GPs in contravention of guidelines, potentially contributing to antibiotic-resistant "superbugs", research launched at the British Pharmaceutical Conference (BPC) in Manchester has shown.

Researchers from John Moores University, Liverpool, studied almost 4,000 prescriptions issued in Western Cheshire during December 2007, and found that 13% of those for antibiotics were for specific medications not recommended in the local PCT antibiotic formulary guidelines, (Management of Infection Guidelines for Primary Care).

The study showed GP's preferences for certain medications, along with pressure they receive from patients to prescribe antibiotics, are possible reasons they write prescriptions that do not meet guidelines.

Four specific antibiotics were frequently prescribed (Co-Amoxiclav, Clarithromycin, Quinolones and Clindamyicn), despite the fact that they are not listed as first-line treatment for many illnesses and are linked to antibiotic resistance.

Head researcher Tristan Sweeney said: "The front-line of the fight against so called superbugs is with prescribing - determining why doctors prescribe certain antibiotics is key to our understanding of the problem and how to address it.

"Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed because doctors feel pressured by patients who have a misguided belief that they will be effective in treating their viral illness.

Pharmacists are the experts in medicines and can advise and educate patients about antibiotics and other medicines, and whether or not they should see a doctor."

Notes to Editors

About the British Pharmaceutical Conference 2008 (BPC)

BPC 2008: Pharmacy in the 21st Century: Adding years to life and life to years. In 2008, as the NHS marks its 60th anniversary year, BPC will examine how pharmacy and the pharmaceutical services are helping to add years to life and life to the years of the UK population. The profession of pharmacy plays an important role in meeting the healthcare challenges associated with the UK's ageing population.

How can pharmacists contribute to caring for the population, as well as ensuring quality of life? Increasingly, scientists and practitioners have to consider the cost implications of this conundrum, and the evidence base for all interventions is becoming of paramount importance: BPC 2008 will debate these issues and open up discussion on them. Visit:

The main sponsors of BPC 2008 are: Boots The Chemists (Lead Sponsor), AstraZeneca (Associate Sponsor and BPC-PJ Careers Forum Platinum Sponsor), Pharmacists' Defence Association (PDA) (Associate Sponsor) and GSK (BPC-PJ Careers Forum Platinum Sponsor).

Research released at BPC is published in the International Journal of Pharmacy Practice (IJPP).

For media enquiries please contact: The British Pharmaceutical Conference 2008 Press Office, (September 7, 8, and 9 only), Tel: +44-161-827-8765, Tel: +44-161-827-8766, Tel: +44-161-827-8767, Tel: +44-161-827-8768, Fax: +44-161-839-9311, Mobile: Tel: +44-7792-109-834, Tel: +44-7739-533-658 or: The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain's Public Relations Unit, +44-207-572-2335