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IDSA: Antibiotics Still Overused in Bronchitis, Sore Throats

THURSDAY, Oct. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Antibiotic prescribing for acute bronchitis and sore throats is still high, according to two studies presented at the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDWeek), held from Oct. 2 to 6 in San Francisco.

Michael L. Barnett, M.D., and Jeffrey A. Linder, M.D., M.P.H., from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, examined national trends in the rate of antibiotic prescribing for acute bronchitis in primary care practices and emergency departments between 1996 and 2010. The researchers found that there was no change in the rate of prescribing by primary care physicians (P = 0.25) and an increase in antibiotic use in emergency departments (P = 0.02). Extended macrolides were prescribed for 36 percent of cases (increased significantly over study period), while other antibiotics were prescribed in 37 percent of cases (no significant change over time).

In a second study, Barnett and Linder analyzed ambulatory visits in the United States to examine the changes in antibiotic prescribing for adults with sore throat from 1997 to 2010. The researchers found that the proportion of sore throat visits to emergency departments was unchanged from 1997 to 2010 (2.2 to 2.3 percent). Sixty percent of visits resulted in physicians prescribing antibiotics, with no change in the overall national antibiotic prescribing rate. Penicillin was prescribed in 9 percent of visits.

"Most sore throats and cases of acute bronchitis should be treated with rest and fluids and do not require a visit to the doctor," Barnett said in a statement.

Abstract - Study 1
Abstract - Study 2
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