Monday, July 20, 2015

Are Parental Requests for Antibiotics for Their Children Decreasing Over Time? New Survey Doses Out Some Interesting Findings

By: Lewis First, MD, MS; Editor-in-Chief  

          With the rise in antibiotic resistance over the past few decades, there has been an increased effort by all of us to become stricter in our use of these antimicrobials—but have those efforts paid off?  Vaz et al. (doi:10.1542/peds.2015-0883) opted to study this question by surveying 1500 parents of children less than 6 years of age to determine their knowledge and attitudes toward use of antibiotics.  The authors divided respondents in terms of their insurance status as being in Medicaid managed care or a commercial health plan. The results are worth reading and thinking about.  For example, while we’ve made some headway in more parents recognizing that green nasal discharge does not require a prescription for an antibiotic, the improvement is less visible amongst Medicaid-enrolled families who continue to request that unnecessary antibiotics be prescribed.  There are many other variables identified that may be causing parents to request unneeded antibacterial medication, and the authors do a nice job of identifying them in their study.
          So what does this study mean for your practice?  Do you agree that your patient education efforts have been in vain when it comes to reducing their requests for antibiotics in likely viral scenarios, or have you succeeded where this study has not?  Doctor Sharon Meropol and Doctor Mark Votruba (doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-1780) add their opinion in an accompanying commentary to this study that you should turn to after reviewing the published data, but just as importantly, we would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on what works when it comes to educating families and changing their antibiotic-seeking behavior by responding to this blog, sending us an e-letter or posting your thoughts on our Facebook or Twitter websites.  

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