Antibiotic Prescriptions Dip for Kids
Certain Antibiotics Are Now Less Commonly Used to Treat Respiratory Tract Infections, but Other Antibiotics Step Up
Aug. 19, 2009 -- Doctors aren't writing prescriptions for certain antibiotics to treat
children's respiratory tract infections as much as they used to, a new study
The researchers -- who included Carlos Grijalva, MD, MPH, of Vanderbilt
University's medical school -- used national data to see if antibiotic use was
still declining, a trend that began in the 1990s.
Grijalva's team was interested because there's been a long-term effort to
tighten up on antibiotic use, in order to fight the rise of
On one hand, the study shows an 18% drop in antibiotic prescriptions in
people with respiratory tract infections.
That includes a 36% drop in the antibiotic prescription rate for respiratory
tract infections among U.S. kids younger than 5, mainly because of fewer doctor
visits by kids with ear infection and a drop in
prescriptions of certain antibiotics, such as penicillin and amoxicillin, to treat
children's respiratory tract infections.
But prescription rates shot up for other antibiotics.
For instance, azithromycin's prescription rate for respiratory tract
infections among children younger than 5 rose ninefold between 1995-1996 and
2005-2006. Prescription rates for quinolones (another type of antibiotic) also
rose for people aged 5 and older. And antibiotic prescriptions for respiratory
tract infections weren't down among people aged 50 and older.
The findings among young children are "encouraging," write the researchers,
adding that "further efforts to improve antibiotic selection are needed."
The study appears in The Journal of the American Medical