Early childhood antibiotic utilization for infants discharged from the neonatal intensive care unit

J Perinatol. 2022 Jul;42(7):953-958. doi: 10.1038/s41372-022-01380-y.


Objective: To determine antibiotic utilization for NICU infants, as compared to non-NICU infants, in the first 3 years after birth hospital discharge.

Study design: Retrospective observational study using data from Medicaid Analytic Extract including 667 541 newborns discharged from 2007-2011. Associations between NICU admission and antibiotic prescription were assessed using regression models, adjusting for confounders, and stratified by gestational age and birth weight.

Results: 596 999 infants (89.4%) received ≥1 antibiotic, with a median of 4 prescriptions per 3 person-years (IQR 2-8). Prescribed antibiotics and associated indication were similar between groups. Compared to non-NICU infants (N = 586 227), NICU infants (N = 81 314) received more antibiotic prescriptions (adjusted incidence rate ratio 1.08, 95% confidence interval [CI] (1.08,1.08)). Similar results were observed in all NICU subgroups.

Conclusions: Antibiotic utilization in early childhood was higher among infants discharged from NICUs compared to non-NICU infants.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Birth Weight
  • Child, Preschool
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal*
  • Patient Discharge*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents