Patients more likely to receive antibiotics from mid- or late-career physicians, study shows

A study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, examines the factors associated with antibiotic prescribing for acute upper respiratory tract infections.

Canadian researchers studied patients, aged 66 years or older, with nonbacterial acute upper respiratory tract infections at primary care physician practices. The study included 8,990 primary care physicians and 185,014 patients with a nonbacterial AURI, including the common cold (53.4 percent), acute bronchitis (31.3 percent), acute sinusitis (13.6 percent) or acute laryngitis (1.6 percent).

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The study shows that 46 percent of patients received an antibiotic prescription.

Additionally, researchers found patients were more likely to receive prescriptions:

•    From mid- and late-career physicians (5.1 percent) than early-career physicians (4.6 percent)
•    From physicians trained outside of Canada or the United States
•    From physicians who saw more than 25 patients per day as compared to those who saw fewer than 25 patients per day

The study did not, however, examine physician rationale for prescribing antibiotics.

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