3 Guiding Principles for Prescribing Antibiotics

Antibiotic resistance is a troubling trend for healthcare providers and is best limited through adhering to antibiotic appropriateness guidelines.

In pediatric respiratory cases alone, nearly 10 million antibiotic prescriptions are written every year in cases where they are unlikely to benefit the patient, according to the American Association of Pediatrics. To help combat this issue, the AAP published a clinical report in its official journal, Pediatrics, with guidelines for prescribing antibiotics. While the focus of the report is on pediatric upper respiratory tract infections, the report says the guidelines can be applied to prescribing antibiotics in general.

1. Determine the likelihood of a bacterial infection. Signs and symptoms of bacterial URIs can be similar to those of viral infections. Physicians must take care to ensure the patient has a bacterial infection before prescribing antibiotics.

2. Weight the benefits against the harms of antibiotics. If a physician determines the infection is bacterial, he or she should make sure the pros of the antibiotic, such as cure rate and symptom reduction, outweigh the cons, such as antibiotic-related infection and cost.

3. Implement judicious prescribing strategies. Judicious prescribing strategies include selecting the proper antibiotic, determining proper dosage and identifying shortest possible treatment time.

More Articles on Antibiotic Resistance:

Study: A Global Solution to Antibiotic Resistance?

Survey Identifies Trends in Pediatric Drug-Resistant Infections

Frontline: Antibiotic Resistance "One of the Great Catastrophes of Our Age"

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