New guidance limits antibiotics for infections in children

medicinesWashington: Every year as many as 10 million US children risk side effects from antibiotic prescriptions that are unlikely to help their upper respiratory conditions. Many of these infections are caused by viruses, which are not helped by antibiotics.

This overuse of antibiotics, a significant factor fuelling antibiotic resistance, is the focus of a new report Principles of Judicious Antibiotic Prescribing for Bacterial Upper Respiratory Tract Infections in Paediatrics by the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) in collaboration with the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The report amplifies recent AAP guidance and promotes responsible antibiotic prescribing for three common upper respiratory tract infections in children: ear infections, sinus infections, and sore throats.

Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria evolve and are able to outsmart antibiotics, making even common infections difficult to treat. According to a landmark CDC report from September 2013, each year more than two million Americans get infections that are resistant to antibiotics and 23,000 die as a result.

For Clinicians: 3 Principles of Responsible Antibiotic Use

  • Determine the likelihood of a bacterial infection: Antibiotics should not be used for viral diagnoses when a concurrent bacterial infection has been reasonably excluded.
  • Weigh benefits versus harms of antibiotics: Symptom reduction and prevention of complications and secondary cases should be weighed against the risk for side effects and resistance, as well as cost.
  • Implement accurate prescribing strategies: Select an appropriate antibiotic at the appropriate dose for the shortest duration required. [Source]

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