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After researchers evaluated the medical records of 185,014 patients aged 66 years or older who sought care from a primary care doctor for nonbacterial acute upper respiratory infections (AURIs), they found that late-career physicians were more likely to prescribe antibiotics compared to those in early- or mid-career. Doctors who practiced at high-volume centers (more than 45 patients per day) were also more likely to prescribe antibiotics. A total of 8,990 unique physicians were studied and the AURIs reviewed included common cold, acute bronchitis, acute sinusitis, or acute laryngitis.
of patients studied were prescribed antibiotics.
of antibiotic prescribers were late-career physicians.
of patients who received antibiotics were more likely to have acute bronchitis.
of patients who received antibiotics were also prescribed antibiotics the previous year.
of prescriptions were broad spectrum antibiotics, the most commonly prescribed antibiotic type. This contradicts current clinical guidelines, which do not recommend broad spectrum antibiotics for any of the AURIs included in the study.
of antibiotics prescribed in the outpatient setting — among all age groups — are unnecessary.
people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.
people die from antibiotic-resistant infections.
Source: Annals of Internal Medicine; May 8, 2017; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.