Study Estimates 23 Percent of Outpatient Antibiotic Prescriptions Inappropriate

An estimated 23 percent of outpatient antibiotic prescriptions filled by privately insured children and non-elderly adults in the United States in 2016 were inappropriate, according to a study published recently in BMJ. “We classified 23.2 percent of outpatient antibiotic prescription fills as inappropriate because they were only associated with diagnoses that almost never justify antibiotics (e.g., acute upper respiratory tract infections and acute bronchitis),” the authors said. Inappropriate prescription fills were more prevalent among adults (25.2 percent) than children (17.1 percent). The findings are based on an analysis of ICD-10 diagnoses codes and insurance claims data from 19.2 million privately insured children and adults.

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