Outpatient Antibiotic Prescribing for 357,390 Children With Otitis Media

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AIM: This study aimed to evaluate antibiotic prescriptions for children with otitis media (OM) in a large nationwide network of private clinics between 2014 and 2020. Special focus was paid to amoxicillin and amoxicillin-clavulanic acid prescriptions, which the national guidelines recommend for first-line drugs. We also focused on macrolides, which are commonly prescribed for respiratory tract infections in children but are not appropriate for OM cases. METHODS: The data were obtained from the electronic health records of about 250,000 annual visits in <18 years old children. The collected variables were all diagnoses, age, visit year, doctor's specialty, and prescribed antibiotics. Children with OM and upper respiratory tract infections were included, but those with lower respiratory tract infections were excluded. RESULTS: The number of children with OM was 357,390 (55.2% boys). Antibiotics were prescribed in 44.8% of cases, with the lowest proportion (44.1%) being in <2 years old children. The overall prescription rate decreased from 48.3% in 2014 to 41.4% in 2020. The rates were 19.3% and 18.1% for amoxicillin and 12.6% and 13.2% for amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, respectively. Macrolide prescriptions were reduced from 7.5% to 3.5%. Pediatricians prescribed antibiotics for 38.8%, general practitioners for 54.0% and ear, nose and throat physicians for 39.8% of children with OM. CONCLUSION: The selection of antibiotics for OM, when prescribed, was according to the recommendations (amoxicillin or amoxicillin-clavulanic acid) in 80.1% of pediatricians, 67.0% of general practitioners and 55.1% of ear, nose and throat physicians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)947-952
Number of pages6
JournalThe Pediatric infectious disease journal
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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