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Where physicians prescribe the most antibiotics

UTIs were 30% more likely to resist antibiotics in 2010 than in 1999

Topics: Appropriateness, Quality, Performance Improvement, Infection Control, Pharmacy, Supply Chain, Finance, Physician Issues

November 13, 2012

Despite a national decrease in antibiotic use, overuse remains a problem—especially in Southeastern states, according to a new state-by-state study of U.S. antibiotic use and resistance.

  • Craft a best-in-class approach to antibiotic utilizationThis Quality Compass study outlines current trends in antibiotic resistance and best practices in antimicrobial stewardship.

The Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) study analyzed 2010 Medicare prescription data. It found that states in the East South Central region of the United States filled two times more prescriptions than states in the Pacific region.

Specifically, the report found that the five states that used the most antibiotics in 2010 were:

      1. Kentucky
      2. West Virginia
      3. Tennessee
      4. Mississippi
      5. Louisiana

Meanwhile, the five states that used the fewest antibiotics in 2010 were:

    1. Alaska
    2. Hawaii
    3. California
    4. Oregon
    5. Washington

Although national antibiotic use decreased by 17% from 1999 to 2010, states with the highest antibiotic use are reducing their use the slowest, the report found. States with the lowest use typically devote more resources to educating physicians and patients on appropriate antibiotic use.

The study also notes that urinary tract infections were 30% more likely to resist antibiotic treatment in 2010 than in 1999.

Patients' understanding of appropriate antibiotic use

In related news, Pew Charitable Trusts and the CDC in September surveyed 1,004 adults' opinions about antibiotics. They found that 79% of adults understood that taking unnecessary antibiotics could harm their health. Moreover, most survey participants understood that misusing or overusing antibiotics puts them at risk of contracting "superbug" infections.

However, just 47% of the participants understood that misuse could harm others, including family members and individuals in their community. In addition, more than a third of respondents mistakenly believed that antibiotics could treat viral infections (Loehrke, USA Today, 11/13; McGlade, CQ HealthBeat, 11/13 [subscription required]).

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