Antimicrobial prescribing guidelines for primary care in Ireland

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Antimicrobial resistance is a growing and significant threat to public health that is compromising our ability to treat infections effectively. It is widely acknowledged that antibiotic resistance is driven by high rates of antibiotic prescribing and it is critical that we work to reduce unnecessary antibiotic use. Evidence-based antimicrobial guidelines are a key tool in efforts to improve antibiotic prescribing, reduce the progression of antibiotic resistance and optimise patient outcomes.

The Community Antimicrobial Stewardship subcommittee of the SARI National Committee developed these guidelines from 2009-2011 as a printed resource for GPs. Since 2011, the guidelines have been overseen by the RCPI/HSE Clinical Advisory Group on Healthcare-Associated Infection and Antimicrobial Resistance (HCAI/AMR). Dr. Nuala O’ Connor represents the ICGP on the RCPI Clinical Advisory Group. 

This website was first developed in November 2012, and supported by the HSE information campaign Action on Antibiotics.  It is maintained and kept up to date as guidance changes.  It replaces the print version of these guidelines which were distributed to all GP surgeries in 2011. Please refer to this site at all times for the most up to date references. Additions and updates will be highlighted on the site as they arise.  Feedback on the guidelines can be emailed to

These guidelines may be used for consultation and local adaptation.


  • To provide a simple, best guess approach to the treatment of common infections
  • To promote the safe and effective use of antibiotics
  • To minimise the emergence of bacterial resistance in the community

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Useful Links

The Summary of Products Characteristics (SPC) for any given medicinal product should be referred to as the primary reference source for information relating to that medicine. The SmPC contains the most up to date information on all licensed indications for use for any given medicine. Visit the Health Products Regulatory Authority's website for SPCs for products licensed in Ireland.

An Ireland specific medicines subscription reference the Irish Medicines Formulary (IMF) is published twice yearly in A5 Book or online

Send feedback on these guidelines to

Primary Care Antimicrobial Guidelines Editorial Group

  • Dr. Nuala O’Connor (Chair), ICGP Lead, HCAI AMR   
  • Dr. Rob Cunney, Consultant Microbiologist, Health Protection Surveillance Centre
  • Dr. Elaine Walsh, GP  and Clinical Lecturer Department of General Practice University College Cork
  • Dr. Aoife Fleming Pharmacist  Lecturer in Clinical Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy, University College Cork University College Cork
  • Dr. Paula O'Leary, Clinical Immunologist, Cork University Hospital
  • Dr. Anne Sheehan, Department of Public Health, Health Service Executive 
  • Dr Olive Smyth, Health Products Regulatory Authority  
  • Dr Niamh Galvin, Assistant National Oral Health Lead Quality 
  • Dr. Deirdre O'Brien, Consultant Microbiologist, Mercy University Hospital Cork
  • Sheila O'Loughlin,  Community Pharmacist  
  • Dr. Fiona Lyons, Clinical Lead in Sexual Health, HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme
  • Dr. Oonagh Molloy, Dermatology Specialist Registrar, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda
  • Sarah Clarke, Pharmacist, Programme Manager Medicines Management Programme (MMP), HSE, St James’s Hospital, Dublin 8
  • Ciara Kirke, Clinical Lead, Medication Safety, Health Service Executive, Quality Improvement Division
  • Dr Niamh O’Sullivan, Microbiologist, Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children, Chair of the RCPI Clinical Advisory Group on HCAI & AMR
  • Dr. Fidelma Fitzpatrick, Lecturer, RCSI & Consultant Microbiologist Beaumont Hospital

Reviewed August 2018

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