By Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, February 7, 2020 (HealthDay News) – Nearly half of the antibiotic prescriptions for Medicaid patients appear to be inappropriate, recent research suggests.
According to experts, this kind of excessive prescription increases the risks for everyone, since bacteria are more likely to mutate around life-saving medicines.
For the study, the researchers analyzed 298 million prescriptions of antibiotics filled by 53 million Medicaid patients between 2004 and 2013. They found that 45% were ordered without clear justification.
Specifically, 17% was prescribed in a visit to the office in which the patient was not diagnosed with a bacterial infection, and 28% was prescribed without a visit to the office.
"The indiscriminate use of antibiotics is increasing the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and makes them ineffective," said lead author Dr. Jeffrey Linder, head of general internal medicine and geriatrics at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University , In Chicago.
"It is worrying that almost half of antibiotics are prescribed without a visit or without a clear justification," he added in a university press release. "We are not following up and we do not have a system to guarantee the prescription of high quality antibiotics in the United States."
The study was published in the February issue of the magazine. Health issues.
The lead author of the study, Dr. Michael Fischer, is an associate professor at Harvard Medical School. He said: "If we are thinking about how to improve the use of antibiotics, we must understand the context in which antibiotics are prescribed. If the prescription is made outside of a visit to the office, most of the approaches we are taking to combat the use excessive antibiotics will lose them completely. "
A key question remains unanswered: Under what circumstances were antibiotics prescribed without a visit to the health care provider?
The study was based on insurance claims and not medical records, Fischer said, so researchers don't know what interactions took place between the patients and the doctors they prescribed.
"We assume that most of these recipes were associated with a telephone interaction, although it is possible that there has been some communication by email, through web portals or in informal visits not captured," he said. "Most of these encounters would be blind spots for interventions designed to improve antibiotic use."