AAP Calls for Judicious Antibiotic Prescribing for Upper RTIs

An update from the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests strategies for prescribing antibiotics for bacterial upper respiratory tract infections in children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Infectious Diseases has issued an update to a previous clinical report on the prescribing of antibiotics for bacterial upper respiratory tract infections (RTIs) in children. The organization’s report suggests strategies for these infections, including acute otitis media, acute bacterial sinusitis and streptococcal pharyngitis.

More than one in five pediatric ambulatory visits to physicians results in an antibiotic prescription, resulting in nearly 50 million antibiotic prescriptions annually in the United States. It is well known that inappropriate antibiotic prescribing for upper RTIs occurs because most infections are viral and require no antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance and side-effects from antibiotics are the result of the overprescribing of antibiotics, and physicians should carefully evaluate children before prescribing these drugs.

The AAP said the principles for judicious antibiotic prescribing required the application of stringent diagnostic criteria, weighing the benefits and harms of antibiotic therapy, and understanding situations when antibiotics may not be indicated.

The document sets out specific instructions about how to address the infections pediatricians treat on a daily basis.