Antibiotic Prescribing for Ages 14 and Under Remains Too High

Inappropriate antibiotic use contributes to antimicrobial resistance, a major health threat in the United States. Children frequently are prescribed antibiotics in U.S. physician offices and most typically for acute respiratory infections (ARIs), even though most ARI episodes do not require antibiotic treatment. The antibiotic prescribing rate for persons aged ≤14 years in U.S. physician offices decreased 24%, from 300 antibiotic courses per 1,000 office visits in 1993–1994 to 229 antibiotic courses per 1,000 office visits in 2007–2008. However, in 2007–2008 ARIs still accounted for 58% of all office-based antibiotic prescribing, and prescribing rates for otitis media, sinusitis, and bronchitis had not changed significantly. Further intervention is needed to decrease inappropriate antibiotic prescribing for this population.