Thursday, April 30, 2015

Antibiotic Prescriptions Across the USA

Are antibiotics prescribed uniformly across the USA?  

Here is a novel report published in Clinical Infectious Diseases that details antibiotic prescription trends in 2011.  The results are eyeopening.

Healthcare providers prescribed 262.5 million courses of antibiotics in 2011(842 prescriptions per 1000 persons).The most commonly prescribed individual antibiotic agent was azithromycin. Family practitioners prescribed the most antibiotic courses (24%). Dentists also accounted for 10% of all prescriptions. The prescribing rate was higher in the South census region (931 prescriptions per 1000 persons) than in the West (647 prescriptions per 1000 persons; P < .001).  

What does this mean?   

The prescription of antibiotics is not uniform across the country.  These data serve as a good initial benchmark for future comparisons. As it is a commonly held belief that antibiotics are often prescribed unnecessarily, particularly for viral upper respiratory infections, efforts are need to address both antibiotic prescribing patterns and patient expectations for antimicrobial treatment. Studies are urgently needed to better characterize prescribing patterns and to more effectively target regions where antimicrobial use is extensive.

With the rise in both multi-drug resistant infections and Clostridium difficile infections, the time for action is now, this is a public health urgency.

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