Report shows continued high rates of inappropriate antibiotic use

March 24, 2011

High rates of inappropriate antibiotic use persist despite a 15-year national outreach campaign by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to educate providers and consumers on the dangers of antibiotic overuse, according to an issue brief from the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation, Ann Arbor, MI.

High rates of inappropriate antibiotic use persist despite a 15-year national outreach campaign by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to educate providers and consumers on the dangers of antibiotic overuse, according to an issue brief from the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation, Ann Arbor, MI.

In Michigan, overall antibiotic prescribing for adult Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) members decreased 9.3% from 2007 to 2009, but increased 4.5% for children during the same time period.

"Using antibiotics when they are unnecessary-or treating simple infections with drugs that should be reserved for the most serious infections-are practices that contribute to antibiotic resistance, making future infections harder to treat," said Marianne Udow-Phillips, director of the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation.

Highlights of the Antibiotic Prescribing and Use issue brief, an analysis of BCBSM data, include:

  • BCBSM spent nearly $16.5 million for the top 10 antibiotics prescribed to adult members.
  • Regions with higher overall antibiotic use rates for children also had higher percentages of antibiotics used for conditions with viral diagnoses.
  • Geographic differences were more pronounced in the pediatric population, with the highest prescribing rates clustered in the Upper Peninsula, northern lower Michigan, and along the Ohio border.

"One factor that might influence geographic differences is that there are fewer pediatricians in these largely rural areas," said Gary L. Freed, MD, MPH, of the University of Michigan and C.S. Mott’s Children’s Hospital, Ann Arbor. "The CDC’s outreach efforts were focused on pediatricians, and in areas where there are more pediatricians, the antibiotic prescribing rate for pediatric patients is lower. This may indicate that the campaign did work as intended, and could be broadened to include other physicians."

Watch the April issue of Urology Times for an article on the increasing use of broad-spectrum antibiotics for pediatric urinary tract infections.