Antibiotics for children: many handed out in EDs are unnecessary

  • Pediatrics

  • curated by Jenny Blair, MD
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • Antibiotic stewardship for children visiting emergency departments (EDs) is not optimal.

Why this matters

Key results

  • About 6.7 (95% CI, 6.1-7.5) million antibiotic visits took place annually.
  • 14% (95% CI, 10%-20%) occurred in pediatric EDs.
  • In nonpediatric vs pediatric EDs (95% CIs):
    • Visits resulting in antibiotic prescriptions: 24% (23%-25%) vs 20% (17%-22%); P<.01.>
    • Visits resulting in antibiotic prescriptions for illnesses not requiring antibiotics: 33% (31%-34%) vs 26% (21%-31%); P=.02; total, 2.1 million per year.
    • Guideline-concordant prescriptions for children with acute otitis media, pharyngitis, or laryngitis: 77% (75%-79%) vs 87% (82%-90%); P<.001.>

Study design

Limitations

  • Comorbidities, allergies not captured and could explain some “non-indicated” prescriptions. 

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