Exploring the Preferences of the Australian Public for Antibiotic Treatments: A Discrete Choice Experiment

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Objectives: Identify Australian public preferences for antibiotic treatments in the context of antibiotic stewardship. Methods: A discrete choice experiment (DCE) was conducted in Australia to investigate the importance of seven attributes associated with antibiotic treatments and related stewardship practices: contribution to antimicrobial resistance (AMR), treatment duration, side effects, days needed to recover, days before taking antibiotics, treatment failure and out-of-pocket costs. The DCE data were analysed using conditional logit, mixed logit and latent class conditional logit models. The relative importance of each attribute was calculated. Results: A total of 1882 respondents completed the survey; the main study sample consist of 1658 respondents (mean age 48 years) who passed quality checks. All seven attributes significantly influenced respondents’ preferences for antibiotic treatments. Based on the designed attribute levels in the DCE, on average, out-of-pocket costs (32.8%) and contribution to antibiotic resistance (30.3%) were the most important attributes, followed by side effects (12.9%). Days before starting medication was least important (3.9%). Three latent classes were identified. Class 1 (including respondents who were more likely to be older and more health literate; 24.5%) gave contribution to antibiotic resistance greater importance in treatment preferences. Class 2 (including respondents more likely to report poorer health; 25.2%) gave out-of-pocket costs greater importance. The remaining (50.4%), who were generally healthier, perceived side effects as the most important attribute. Conclusions: Despite concerted public awareness raising campaigns, our results suggest that several factors may influence the preferences of Australians when considering antibiotic use. However, for those more likely to be aware of the need to preserve antibiotics, out-of-pocket costs and limiting the contribution to antibiotic resistance are the dominant influence. Delays in starting treatment were not important for any latent class, suggesting public tolerance for this measure. These results could help inform strategies to promote prudent antibiotic stewardship.

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Funding Sponsor

University of Wollongong


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