Researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School say inappropriate use of antibiotics is “still rampant,” with only 12.8% of antibiotic prescriptions in their study being given appropriately. Further, their data show a relatively low 6.7% of those prescriptions originated in urgent care centers, far less than suggested in a JAMA Internal Medicine piece published last October. This latest study, published in The BMJ, reflects insurance claims and shows that antibiotics were most commonly overprescribed for acute bronchitis, acute upper respiratory tract infections, and general respiratory symptoms (eg, cough). Just over 15% of adult patients filled at least one inappropriate antibiotic prescription over the study period, compared with 10.6% of children. Overall, one out of every seven patients received unnecessary antibiotics. The researchers deemed 35.5% of antibiotic prescriptions to be potentially appropriate, 23.2% to be inappropriate, and 28.5% not associated with any documented diagnosis. In addition to prescriptions written in urgent care, 4.7% came from emergency rooms, and the vast majority (70.7%) originated in “office-based settings.” The authors proposed that the desire to satisfy patient requests was a leading cause for unnecessary prescriptions, though they also said some resulted from the provider being unsure about the diagnosis at the time of presentation.
New Data Show Inappropriate Antibiotic Prescriptions Go Well Beyond Urgent Care