Doctors’ prescriptions for antibiotics dropped by 15% from 2009-18, while the number of doses consumed stabilised at 22.5 per 1,000 people, per day, a government report found.
However, over-65s were taking more antibiotics by the end of the study period – up 13% for those aged 65-84, and up 9% for those aged 85 or more.
Dijon Bourgogne hospital infections expert Professor Lionel Piroth says older people are more fragile and grew up in a period when the risks of over-use – including allowing the emergence of more resistant strains of bacteria for which there are no treatments – were not known.
Antibiotics should not be used for treating viral infections, he added.
If France reduced consumption to the level of the Netherlands, the Sécu would save €400million a year.