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Age-specific antibiotic prescribing and adherence to guidelines in pediatric patients in primary care.

Ivanovska, V., Hek, K., Mantel-Teeuwisse, A.K., Leufkens, H.G.M., Dijk, L. van. Age-specific antibiotic prescribing and adherence to guidelines in pediatric patients in primary care. Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal: 2018, 37(3), p. 218-223.
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Most antibiotics in children are used to treat viral and self-limiting conditions.

This study aims to compare physicians' adherence to guidelines on antibiotic prescribing in fever and in ear and respiratory infections to children in different age groups in the Netherlands.

Data were used from the NIVEL Primary Care Database. For all pediatric episodes of fever, acute otitis media (AOM), streptococcal pharyngitis (strep throat), sinusitis, acute tonsillitis, acute bronchitis/bronchiolitis and pneumonia in 2012, we determined whether national guidelines were followed in regard to whether an antibiotic was prescribed, and the type of antibiotic.

For diagnoses that generally do not require antibiotics, more prescriptions were found in adolescents' episodes compared with children aged 0-4 and 5-11 years, respectively, (bronchitis: 52.0% vs. 42.4% and 42.7%, and fever: 16.8% vs. 9.0% and 14.2%). The same was true for diagnoses that require antibiotics (strep throat: 76.5% vs. 55.0% and 49.5%, pneumonia: 71.6% vs. 60.2% and 69.8%, and tonsillitis: 57.8% vs. 54.8% and 49.7%), except for AOM (43.9% vs. 52.4% and 39.6%). First-choice amoxicillin was prescribed more frequently in children 0-4 years of age than in age groups 5-11 and 11-17 years (AOM: 88.0% vs. 83.2% and 81.8%, and pneumonia:74.7% vs. 57.2% and 53.8%). First-choice narrow-spectrum penicillins were prescribed more often in adolescents than in age groups 0-4 and 5-11 years (strep throat: 72.0% vs. 63.6%, and 60.9%, and tonsillitis: 67.9% vs. 33.1 and 45.9%).

Adherence patterns demonstrated include high antibiotic rates for bronchitis, particularly in adolescents, and underuse of narrow-spectrum penicillins in the 0-4 years group. (aut. ref.)