Inappropriate Antibiotic Prescribing Common in Asthma

Co-dispensing of antibiotics and asthma drugs among children found to be very common

MONDAY, May 23 (HealthDay News) -- Inappropriate antibiotic prescribing appears to be relatively common among children with asthma, according to two studies published online May 23 in Pediatrics.

Ian M. Paul, M.D., of the Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, and colleagues evaluated data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys and National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey to assess office and emergency-department asthma visits made by children (aged <18 years) for frequencies of antibiotic prescription. The investigators found that an estimated 60.4 million visits occurred for asthma without another ICD-9 code justifying antibiotic prescription between 1998 and 2007, with antibiotics prescribed during 16 percent of these visits.

In another study, Kris De Boeck, M.D., Ph.D., of the University Hospital of Leuven in Belgium, and colleagues used a health insurance database to evaluate dispensing and co-dispensing of antibiotics and asthma drugs in a one-year period in 892,841 Belgian children aged <18 years. The investigators found that dispensing of antibiotics was more common among children who had an asthma drug dispensed in the same year, with dispensing of antibiotics 1.9 times more frequent in children who were treated with asthma drugs as compared to those who were not. In addition, co-dispensing of antibiotics and asthma drugs was common practice, with 35.6 percent of children who received an asthma drug dispensed an antibiotic on the same day.

"The new battle for curbing unjustified antibiotic use in the pediatric outpatient setting requires that we focus on reducing inappropriate bacterial diagnoses and decreasing the use of broad-spectrum agents," write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

Abstract - Paul
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Abstract - De Boeck
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