Overuse of antibiotics in the emergency department (ED) for uncomplicated acute respiratory tract infections (uARTIs) is a public health issue that needs to be addressed. We aimed to identify factors associated with antibiotic use for uARTIs in adults presenting at the ED.
We searched Medline, Embase, PsycINFO and the Cochrane Library for articles published from 1 January 2005 to 30 June 2017 using a predetermined search strategy. Titles and abstracts of English articles on antibiotic prescription and inappropriate antibiotic use for adult ARTI at EDs were assessed, followed by full article review, by 2 authors.
Adults aged 18 years and older.
Of the 2,591 articles retrieved, 12 articles met the inclusion criteria and 11 studies were conducted in the United States. Patients with normal C-reactive protein levels and positive influenza tests were less likely to receive antibiotic treatment. Nonclinical factors associated with antibiotic use were longer waiting time and perceived patient desire for antibiotics. Patients attended by internal medicine physicians comanaged by house staff or who visited an ED which provided education to healthcare providers on antibiotics use were less likely to receive antibiotics.
English-language articles that fulfilled the selection criteria outside the United States were limited. Factors associated with antibiotics use are multifaceted. Education of healthcare providers presents an opportunity to improve antibiotic use.