Antibiotic Prescribing in Ambulatory Care of Pediatric Patients with Respiratory Infections

Joana Verdelho Andrade, Pedro Vasconcelos, Joana Campos, Teresa Camurça


Introduction: Respiratory tract infections represent the most frequent conditions in pediatric clinical practice that motivate antibiotic prescribing. The objective was to identify the frequency and pattern of antibacterial prescribing in respiratory diseases.

Material and Methods: Over a period of two years (divided by the presentation of the clinical guideline standards) data was collected from clinical records of children with respiratory disease. Chi-square tests or Fisher’s exact test were used to test associations between variables, statistical significance p < 0.05.

Results: There were 547 visits (mean age 6 years ± 5.3, 55% male gender). Analysis for Group A Streptococcus of the oropharynx was most frequently requested by pediatric residents (p = 0.005). Chest x-rays were more frequently requested by the Family Physician (p = 0.033). An antibiotic was prescribed in 87% of pneumonias, 84% acute otitis media, 68% acute tonsillitis, 25% laryngitis, 17% upper respiratory infections, 16% acute bronchiolitis. The Family Physician prescribed antibiotics more often than the Pediatrics resident in acute tonsillitis (p = 0.003) and in acute otitis media (p = 0.013). The most frequently prescribed antibiotic was amoxicillin (61%). There were no significant differences between the two periods studied regarding the number of prescriptions and antibiotic choice of the conditions studied.

Antibiotic prescribing in pediatric acute respiratory infections was high and the choice of antibiotic therapy could be adjusted. We found no difference in antibiotic prescribing after the presentation of the clinical guideline standards.

Conclusion: An improvement in the antibiotic prescription in children and adolescents in the outpatient clinic is considered necessary.


Ambulatory Care; Anti-Bacterial Agents; Child; Drug Utilization; Inappropriate Prescribing; Respiratory Tract Infections

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