BOSTON - Oct. 6, 2005 - Both nurse practitioners and physicians are prescribing inappropriate antibiotics to patients with viral upper-respiratory tract infections, a practice that may lead to increased rates of antimicrobial resistance. Researchers also found that highly marketed broad-spectrum antibiotics are being prescribed excessively, by both NPs and MDs, to patients with diagnoses of viral illnesses. It is well accepted that antibiotics have no clinical effect in the treatment of these illness.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, further found that antibiotic prescribing by nurse practitioners to patients with Medicaid insurance was more appropriate than that of physician prescribing for the same category of patients. This may suggest a difference in response, by NPs, to patient demand among this population and/or a keener awareness among NPs of the budget constraints that are affecting state Medicaid programs.
According to the study, increased adherence, especially by nurse practitioners, to well accepted clinical guidelines and involvement in system-based quality assurance programs are needed to decrease this excessive use of antibiotics.
Source: Eurekalert & others
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