Declining Antibiotic Prescriptions for Upper Respiratory Infections, 1993–2004
Article first published online: 28 JUN 2008
2007 Society for Academic Emergency Medicine
Academic Emergency Medicine
Volume 14, Issue 4, pages 366–369, April 2007
How to Cite
Vanderweil, S. G., Pelletier, A. J., Hamedani, A. G., Gonzales, R., Metlay, J. P. and Camargo, C. A. (2007), Declining Antibiotic Prescriptions for Upper Respiratory Infections, 1993–2004. Academic Emergency Medicine, 14: 366–369. doi: 10.1197/j.aem.2006.10.096
- Issue published online: 28 JUN 2008
- Article first published online: 28 JUN 2008
- Received August 2, 2006; revised revision September 18, 2006; revised revision September 28, 2006; accepted October 5, 2006
- respiratory tract infections;
- emergency departments;
Objectives: To examine antibiotic prescribing trends for U.S. emergency department (ED) visits with upper respiratory tract infections (URIs) between 1993 and 2004.
Methods: Data were compiled from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS). URI visits were identified by using ICD-9-CM code 465.9, whereas antibiotics were identified using the National Drug Code Directory class Antimicrobials. A multivariate logistic regression model revealed sociodemographic and geographic factors that were independently associated with receipt of an antibiotic prescription for URIs.
Results: There were approximately 23.4 million ED visits diagnosed as URIs between 1993 and 2004. Although the proportion of URI diagnoses remained relatively stable (p trend = 0.26), a significant decrease in provision of antibiotic prescriptions for URIs occurred during this 12-year period, from a maximum of 55% in 1993, to a minimum of 35% in 2004. Patients who were prescribed antibiotics were more likely to be white than African American and to have been treated in EDs located in the southern United States.
Conclusions: Antibiotic prescribing for URIs continues to decrease, a favorable trend that suggests that national efforts to reduce inappropriate antibiotic usage are having some success. Nevertheless, the frequency of antibiotic treatment for URI in the ED remains high (35%). Future efforts to reduce inappropriate antibiotic prescribing may focus on patients and physicians in southern U.S. EDs. Additional work is needed to address continued evidence of race-related disparities in care.