Adults Prescribed Too Many Antibiotics for Sore Throat

Published Online: Wednesday, June 11, 2014
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Although efforts have reduced antibiotic prescribing for children with sore throats, new research suggests that inappropriate prescribing is still high among adults who visit the emergency department. The study, published in the March 2014 issue of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, calculated rates of antibiotic use among patients who visited the emergency department with acute respiratory tract infections from 2001 to 2010. Antibiotics were prescribed in 61% of all visits. Throughout the study period, inappropriate prescribing significantly decreased for patients younger than 5 years and for those aged 5 to 19 years, but remained stable for those aged 20 to 64 years.

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Antibiotic overuse and misuse threatens the efficacy of one of medicine’s most valuable lifesaving tools. Concurrently, research and development for new antibiotics has been limited – creating a problem for generations to come. The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) is joining the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other partners in “Get Smart about Antibiotics Week” to highlight this alarming issue and raise awareness of strategies and programs to stop and reverse these trends.
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