Reducing the rate of antibiotic resistance—let alone treating patients effectively and efficiently—means prescribing the right drug for the right pathogen at the outset. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen that way, so the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Pew Charitable Trusts and other public health and medical experts to determine how much U.S. outpatient antibiotic use is inappropriate and to set national targets for improving antibiotic prescribing. They found that at least 30% of antibiotic prescriptions written annually are “unnecessary” (eg, giving a patient an antibiotic for a viral illness). Choice of drug, dose, and duration of treatment were also factors. The panel noted that only 52% of antibiotic prescriptions to treat sinus infections, middle ear infections, and pharyngitis—all diagnoses common in urgent care—were for first-line drugs based on established guidelines. If the relevant guidelines were followed, roughly 80% of those patients should have received the first-line drug, the panel concluded. The entire brief is available here.
CDC, Pew Set Agenda for Antibiotic Prescriptions in Outpatient Settings