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Prescribing for different antibiotic classes across age groups in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California population in association with influenza incidence, 2010-2018

There is limited information on the volume of antibiotic prescribing that is influenza-associated, resulting from influenza infections and their complications (such as streptococcal pharyngitis). We estimated that for the Kaiser Permanente Northern California population during 2010-2018, 3.4% (2.8%-4%) of all macrolide prescriptions (fills), 2.7% (2.3%-3.2%) of all aminopenicillin prescriptions, 3.1% (2.4%-3.9%) of all 3rd generation cephalosporins prescriptions, 2.2% (1.8%-2.6%) of all protected aminopenicillin prescriptions and 1.3% (1%-1.6%) of all quinolone prescriptions were influenza-associated. The corresponding proportions were higher for select age groups, e.g. 4.3% of macrolide prescribing in ages over 50 years, 5.1% (3.3%-6.8%) of aminopenicillin prescribing in ages 5-17 years and 3.3% (1.9%-4.6%) in ages <5 years was influenza-associated. The relative contribution of influenza to antibiotic prescribing for respiratory diagnoses without a bacterial indication in ages over 5 years was higher than the corresponding relative contribution to prescribing for all diagnoses. Our results suggest a modest benefit of increasing influenza vaccination coverage for reducing prescribing for the five studied antibiotic classes, particularly for macrolides in ages over 50 years and aminopenicillins in ages <18 years, and the potential benefit of other measures to reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescribing for respiratory diagnoses with no bacterial indication, both of which may contribute to the mitigation of antimicrobial resistance.

Authors: Goldstein, Edward; Fireman, Bruce H; Klein, Nicola P; Lipsitch, Marc; Ray, G Thomas

Epidemiol Infect. 2022 Oct 26;150:e180. Epub 2022-10-26.

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