Estimated 30% of Outpatient Oral Antibiotic Prescriptions May Be Inappropriate

May 13, 2016 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


​Approximately 30% of outpatient oral antibiotic prescriptions across all conditions may have been prescribed inappropriately, according to an analysis of antibiotic prescribing practices during U.S. ambulatory care visits in 2010 and 2011 conducted by researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and published in the May 3, 2016, issue ofJAMA. Using the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey from 2010–2011, researchers estimated oral antibiotic prescription rates by age, region, and diagnosis in the United States, and estimated the annual antibiotic prescription rate at 506 per 1,000 population across all conditions; however, only 353 of these prescriptions were likely appropriate. For acute respiratory conditions, 221 antibiotic prescriptions were written per 1,000 population, but only 111 were deemed appropriate. Sinusitis was the condition associated with the most antibiotic prescriptions per 1,000 population (56 antibiotic prescriptions), followed by suppurative otitis media (47 prescriptions) and pharyngitis (43 prescriptions).

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