Inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics noted in new CDC report

ATLANTA — The number of antibiotic prescriptions sought for acute respiratory infections decreased by 24% between 1993 and 2008, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly" report.

While this drop may be substantial, the CDC found that nearly 60% of antibiotic prescriptions for office visits among children ages 14 years and younger were for ARIs, most episodes of which do not require antibiotic therapy.

"While this decrease is encouraging, antibiotics are still prescribed too frequently for children ages 14 years and younger," CDC said. "Interventions, such as patient and healthcare provider education, offered by CDC’s Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work campaign, are important steps towards further reducing rates of antibiotic use among children in the United States."

The decrease in antibiotic prescriptions among those with ARIs was mostly due to decreased prescribing for patients with pharyngitis (26% decrease) and patients with nonspecific upper respiratory infections or the common cold (19% decrease).

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