Doctors still prescribing antibiotics for bronchitis, study says

November 21, 2008

The number of doctors prescribing antibiotics to adults with acute viral bronchitis is still rising, despite the fact that such drugs have no effect on that condition.

The number of doctors prescribing antibiotics to adults with acute viral bronchitis is still rising, according to the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

In 2005, NCQA began measuring overuse of these drugs in adults and children. In the first year, nearly two-thirds of adults with acute viral bronchitis were found to have been prescribed an antibiotic despite the fact that such drugs have no effect on that condition. In 2007, the number rose to 75 percent.

"Such inappropriate care wastes vital health-care resources and contributes to the rise of drug-resistant bacteria, threatening the health of patients and communities," NCQA stated in its yearly report on health care, which studied the performance of 845 health plans covering 106 million Americans.