[Practice variation and appropriateness study of antimicrobial therapy for acute pharyngotonsillitis in adults]

Enferm Infecc Microbiol Clin. 1999 Jun-Jul;17(6):292-9.
[Article in Spanish]


Objective: Infectious pharyngotonsillitis is usually managed with antibiotics by general practitioners and pediatricians both in primary care and the emergency services. In the present work we try to assess the antibiotic variability and appropriateness in the management of acute pharyngotonsillitis among several emergency services in our country related to scientific evidence based in an expert panel criteria.

Method: A transversal trial was carried on in ten emergency services of our country. We included patients older than fourteen years an analyzed the following variables: type of respiratory infection, antibiotic prescription, comorbidity, physician's status and hospital admission. The antibiotics were classified in three levels according to the expert panel criteria: first election, alternative use and inappropriate use. We compared the antibiotic treatments to these three levels.

Results: 2,869 patients were diagnosed of acute respiratory infection, 356 (12.4%) with pharyngotonsillitis. Commonly the patients were prescribed antibiotics (315; 81%) and the most used were amoxicillin-clavulanate (33%), amoxicillin (16%), penicillin (7%), cefuroxime (6%), erythromicin (4%) and cefixime (3%). Among the 315 prescriptions, 98 (32%) were first election, 147 (50%) alternative use and 50 (17%) inappropriate use.

Conclusions: Most of the patients suffering of pharyngotonsillitis were empirically prescribed antibiotics probably many of these cases were non-bacterial pharyngotonsillitis. Alternative and inappropriate use of antibiotics was high.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Utilization
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pharyngitis / drug therapy*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Spain
  • Tonsillitis / drug therapy*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents