Cdc logo

New Resource: CDC Research Shows Antibiotic Prescribing Rates Decreased Across Various Healthcare Settings

Jun 01, 2021 | Kimberly Nalley

Two recent CDC publications show antibiotic prescribing during the COVID-19 pandemic decreased across outpatient and nursing home settings. The studies show a 33% decrease in antibiotic prescribing in outpatient settings during the COVID-19 pandemic and an overall decrease in antibiotic use among nursing home residents. However, prescribing of specific antibiotics, including azithromycin, was higher than expected.

From January-May 2020, antibiotic prescribing decreased substantially in outpatient settings, likely due to:

  • A decrease in the spread of non-COVID-19 respiratory diseases (e.g., common cold, flu)
  • Changes in outpatient healthcare access and use, including decreases in in-person visits and increases in telehealth visits
  • Increased awareness that antibiotics don’t treat viruses

Overall, antibiotic prescribing in nursing homes declined from May-October 2020, which may be attributed to these factors:

  • Changes in nursing home resident population during the pandemic, including declines in nursing home admissions
  • Increased awareness and improved implementation of infection prevention and control measures

Although overall antibiotic prescribing decreased, prescribing of specific antibiotics, including azithromycin, was higher than expected. In the outpatient setting, azithromycin prescribing was higher than expected, especially in geographic areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, which may have reflected its early promotion as a potential therapy, despite its ineffectiveness. In nursing home settings, azithromycin prescribing remained elevated through October 2020.

Patients who develop secondary bacterial infections after COVID-19 infection may require antibiotic treatment, but current data suggest this occurs in only 6.9% of patients presenting to hospitals with a current or recent COVID-19 diagnosis.

Antibiotics do not treat SARS-CoV-2, the respiratory virus that causes COVID-19. Because antibiotics have the potential to cause harm, healthcare providers should only prescribe antibiotics for patients when they are clinically indicated. CDC continues to encourage clinicians to keep their patients safe by carefully weighing the risks and benefits when prescribing antibiotics to optimize treatment of infections, minimize adverse events, and fight antibiotic resistance.

To learn more about antibiotic prescribing and use, visit www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use.


About Kimberly Nalley

More posts by Kimberly Nalley

Related Posts

Microsoft Teams image
  • Webinar
  • Healthcare-Associated Infections
  • ID Featured
  • Infection, Prevention, and Control

Webinar: Tools to Address Multi-drug Resistant Organisms...

In this webinar, attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the Council...

Jan 24, 2023 | Irene Halferty

Webinar: Tools to Address Multi-drug Resistant Organisms...

SDOH Project Logo V2
  • Funding Opportunity
  • Community Health
  • Performance Improvement
  • Social Determinants of Health

RFP: Improving Social Determinants of Health – Getting...

Building upon the results of Years 1 and 2 of the CDC’s Improving Social...

Jan 23, 2023 | Andrea Grenadier

RFP: Improving Social Determinants of Health – Getting...

I Stock 1202344480 1
  • Opioid Overdose Epidemic

The National Association of County and City Health...

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), along...

Jan 23, 2023

The National Association of County and City Health...

Outbreak Chart
  • Community Health
  • Infectious Disease
  • Opportunity

NACCHO Disease Outbreaks and Analytics Project Call for...

NACCHO is currently recruiting members for a community of practice focused on...

Jan 23, 2023 | NacchoVoice

NACCHO Disease Outbreaks and Analytics Project Call for...

Congress
  • Immunization

Inflation Reduction Act: Improving Adults Enrolled in...

In August 2022, the Biden Administration passed the Inflation Reduction Act...

Jan 17, 2023 | Victoria Thompson

Inflation Reduction Act: Improving Adults Enrolled in...

CIC Scholarship Canva Image
  • Funding Opportunity
  • Antibiotic Resistance
  • Community Health
  • Healthcare-Associated Infections

Scholarship Opportunity for Local Health Department...

Apply today! NACCHO is offering a scholarship opportunity for local health...

Jan 09, 2023 | Jaclyn Abramson

Scholarship Opportunity for Local Health Department...

PFL Banner 1
  • Tools & Resources
  • Community Health
  • Infection, Prevention, and Control
  • Infectious Disease

An Unexpected Outbreak, Part 2

This is the second of a two-part blog series presenting two fictional, but...

Dec 19, 2022 | Irene Halferty

An Unexpected Outbreak, Part 2

PFL Banner 2
  • Tools & Resources
  • Community Health
  • Infection, Prevention, and Control
  • Infectious Disease

An Unexpected Outbreak, Part 1

This is the first of a two-part blog series on infection prevention and control...

Dec 19, 2022 | Irene Halferty

An Unexpected Outbreak, Part 1

2 Year COVIN graphic
  • COVID-19
  • Immunization

NACCHO Recognizes Second Anniversary of First COVID-19...

NACCHO and leading partners recognize December 14, 2022 as the two-year...

Dec 15, 2022 | Nicholas Holmes

NACCHO Recognizes Second Anniversary of First COVID-19...

Back to Top