JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Prescription of antibacterial agents for acute upper respiratory tract infections in Beijing, 2010-2012.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to describe the prescription of antibacterial agents for acute upper respiratory tract infections (URIs) in Beijing.

METHODS: A total of 8,588,699 outpatient cases in tertiary hospitals with acute upper respiratory tract infections (URIs) were selected from the Beijing Medical Claim Data for Employees (BMCDE) from Oct 2010 to Sep 2012. Second-generation cephalosporins, third-generation cephalosporins, fourth-generation cephalosporins, fluoroquinolones, macrolides (except for erythromycin), combinations of penicillins (including β-lactamase inhibitors), and streptomycins were classified as broad-spectrum antibacterial agents. The rates for antibiotic prescriptions and broad-spectrum antibiotic use were calculated in all cases as well as in various URI diagnosis subgroups and age (18-44, 45-64, and ≥65 years) subgroups. The most frequently prescribed antibiotic classes were identified by calculating the proportions of the different agents in all prescribed antibiotic agents.

RESULTS: Overall, the rate of antibiotic prescription is 39.0%, and cases diagnosed with acute tonsillitis, sinusitis, and epiglottitis have the highest prescription rate (73.6%), followed by acute laryngitis and bronchitis (52.3%), acute pharyngitis (40.1%), and acute nasopharyngitis (37.2%). Broad-spectrum agents were chosen in 82.4% of the cases that were prescribed antibiotics, ranging from 81.9% of cases with naspharyngitis to 87.1% of the cases with tonsillitis, sinusitis, and epiglottitis. Second-generation cephalosporins, macrolides, fluoroquinolones, third-generation cephalosporins, and combinations of penicillins were most frequently prescribed, accounting for more than 80% of all prescribed antibacterials.

CONCLUSIONS: Antibacterial drug prescription for outpatients with acute URIs is common in tertiary hospitals in Beijing, and the prescribed antibacterials are usually broad-spectrum agents.

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