Trends in antimicrobial prescribing for bronchitis and upper respiratory infections among adults and children

Am J Public Health. 2003 Nov;93(11):1910-4. doi: 10.2105/ajph.93.11.1910.


Objectives: This study examined antimicrobial prescribing patterns for adults and children with bronchitis or upper respiratory infections (URIs) before and after release of nationally disseminated pediatric practice recommendations.

Methods: Data from the 1993, 1995, 1997, and 1999 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey were used to evaluate prescriptions for antimicrobials for URIs and bronchitis.

Results: From 1993 to 1999, the proportion of children receiving antimicrobials after visits for URIs and bronchitis decreased. However, the use of broad-spectrum antimicrobials rose from 10.6% of bronchitis visits to 40.5%. Prescriptions of antimicrobials for adults with URIs or bronchitis showed a decrease between 1993 and 1999.

Conclusions: Although antimicrobial prescribing for URIs and bronchitis has decreased for both children and adults, the prescribing of broad-spectrum antibiotics among children has shown a proportional rise.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bronchitis / drug therapy
  • Bronchitis / virology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Common Cold / drug therapy
  • Common Cold / virology
  • Drug Prescriptions
  • Drug Utilization Review*
  • Episode of Care
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Services Misuse / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Services Misuse / trends*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Office Visits
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / trends*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / drug therapy*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / virology
  • United States


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents