(HealthDay News) — Public disclosure of the potential harms of antibiotic use is associated with a reduction in antibiotic prescription rates for upper respiratory tract infection (URTI), according to a research letter published online December 15 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Jae Moon Yun, MPH, from the Seoul National University Hospital in South Korea, and colleagues used nationally representative data to examine the effect of public disclosure on the potential harms of antibiotic overuse. The authors assessed trends of antibiotic use for URTIs before and after public disclosure, starting in February 2006.

The researchers found that 938,118 individuals with URTI had visited a clinic at least once between January 1, 2003, and December 31, 2010. The rate of antibiotic prescriptions was 58.8% before disclosure and 53.0% after disclosure (P<0.001). Regardless of the hospital level, the decrease in rates by intervention was consistent.

“Our data show that public disclosure was effective in lowering antibiotic use for URTIs,” the authors write. “Our study should be interpreted within the context of South Korea’s medical care, in which medical services are provided mostly by private providers who might be motivated to maintain a good reputation for economic reasons.”

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