Nearly 50% of women get inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions for UTI, study finds

About half of women seeking treatment for uncomplicated urinary tract infection receive inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions and 76 percent get prescriptions that are too long, according to a study recently published in Infection Control Hospital Epidemiology.

Researchers identified 670,450 U.S. women between the ages of 18 and 44 who received an outpatient UTI diagnosis from April 1, 2011, to June 30, 2015. The analysis is based on data from commercial insurance claims. They found 46.7 percent of women received inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions and 76.1 percent of prescriptions were inappropriately long. 

Women living in rural areas were also more likely to receive unnecessarily long prescription durations compared to those from urban areas, according to the findings published Feb. 24. 

"Antimicrobial stewardship interventions are needed to improve outpatient UTI antibiotic prescribing and to reduce unnecessary exposure to antibiotics, particularly in rural settings," the study authors said. 

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