Avoiding Broad-spectrum Antibiotics for Common Childhood Infections

Published on in CHOP News

4 arrows pointing to the center of a circle iconReduce Unnecessary Care

Why is this important?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the use of narrow-spectrum antibiotics as first-line therapy for the four most common childhood respiratory bacterial illnesses (ear, sinus, throat and lung infections). Narrow-spectrum antibiotics kill only the bacteria causing the infection while leaving other bacteria in our bodies alone. This practice reduces the development of bacteria resistance. Narrow-spectrum antibiotics have less side effects and are less expensive. 

What we did

A team of four medical directors and provider leads at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) reviewed the prescribing rates of four conditions across 30 practices and noted significant variation. Interventions included provider and family education and monthly feedback reports about prescribing practice.


Percent of Patients Treated with Narrow Spectrum Antibiotics for Common Childhood Infections

The majority of children with otitis media were treated with narrow-spectrum antibiotics. This number increased from a mean of 82 percent to a mean of 94 percent and has been sustained.

Graph: Percent of Patients Receiving Antibiotics

Updated May, 2020

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