AAP: Judicious Use of Antibiotics Advised

A report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), in collaboration with the CDC, focuses on reducing unnecessary antibiotic prescribing in the treatment of three common pediatric upper respiratory infections.

RELATED: Infectious Disease Resource Center

The updated guidance advises physicians specifically on the treatment of ear infections, sinus infections, and strep throat. In general, physicians are urged to follow three principles of responsible antibiotic use:

  • Determine the likelihood of a bacterial infection: Antibiotics should not be used for viral diagnoses when a concurrent bacterial infection has been reasonably excluded
  • Weight benefits vs. harms of antibiotics: Symptom reduction and prevention of complications and secondary cases should be weighed against the risk for side effects and resistance, as well as cost
  • Implement accurate prescribing strategies: Select an appropriate antibiotic at the appropriate dose for the shortest duration required

Recent data shows that prescriptions for broad-spectrum antibiotics have increased, even when no antibiotics are needed or when a narrow-spectrum antibiotic would have been sufficient. The rise in antibiotic resistance makes infections more difficult to treat. As many as 10 million antibiotic prescriptions are written each year for infections they are unlikely to help.

The AAP recommends that physicians focus on relieving symptoms and not prescribe antibiotics when treating symptoms of the common cold. This report also includes the key recommendations from AAP's guidelines released earlier this year on acute otitis media and bacterial sinusitis.

The clinical report, “Principles of Judicious Antibiotic Prescribing for Bacterial Upper Respiratory Tract Infections in Pediatrics,” has been published in the December 2013 Pediatrics and has been released online today.

For more information call (800) 433-9016 or read the AAP published report here.

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