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Far too many prescriptions are being written for patients with acute respiratory infections, including influenza, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As many as 41% of antibiotic prescriptions for ARIs were deemed “inappropriate” by the CDC. In addition, despite published guidelines, vigorous public awareness campaigns, and missives to prescribers, nearly 30% of patients who tested positive for viral flu infection were prescribed antibiotics. The data, published in JAMA Network Open, reflect 15,000 patients at five regional sites in the U.S. Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Network, over the 2013–14 and 2014–15 flu seasons. The study also revealed that 168 patients with pharyngitis received antibiotic treatment even though they had tested negative for Group A Streptococcus (GAS). The authors pointed out that published guidelines call for antibiotic treatment for lab-confirmed GAS only. Up to 1,200 patients got an antibiotic for sinusitis where none was indicated.

CDC: Antibiotics Are Still Being Overprescribed for Respiratory Infections—Including Flu
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