Researchers consulted the 2010-2011 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey to generate estimates of ambulatory visits involving inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions by age, region, and diagnosis in the United States


Reducing the extent of inappropriate antibiotic use is of vital importance, as antibiotic-resistant infections play a role in approximately 23,000 deaths per year in the United States, and can lead to antibiotic resistance in bacteria. The National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria is currently aiming to decrease the inappropriate outpatient use of antibiotics by 50% by the year 2020. However, the degree of inappropriate antibiotic use among outpatients has not been studied extensively. The main purpose of a new study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, was to estimate the rates of inappropriate oral antibiotic use within the outpatient population in the United States during the period of 2010-2011. As well researchers wanted to create a baseline of public health knowledge regarding inappropriate antibiotic use by age and diagnosis of a variety of conditions.

During the time period of 2010-2011, diagnosis with the condition Sinusitis was the most strongly associated with antibiotic prescriptions. In total, acute respiratory conditions were related to 221 antibiotic prescriptions yearly, but only 111 (about 50%) of these prescriptions were deemed appropriate. Out of all conditions and age groups considered in this study, it was estimated that 506 prescriptions were provided per year, and of these, only 353 were estimated to be appropriately written. This observation means that over 30% of antibiotics that were prescribed from 2010-2011 were inappropriately prescribed; while only 70% of antibiotic prescriptions were deemed justified.

The researchers conclude by expressing their hopes that these findings will be influential in driving future outpatient antibiotic efforts, in order to reduce inappropriate prescriptions and antibiotic-resistance.




Written By: Melissa Booker

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