Drugs in upper respiratory tract infections in paediatric patients in North Trinidad
Objective: We explored the prescribing patterns of physicians in North Trinidad in treating upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) in paediatric patients and the appropriateness of drugs prescribed.
Methods: A retrospective observational study was conducted, with a sample size of 523 paediatric patients, diagnosed with an URTI during the period of June 2003 to 22 June 2005. The study was conducted at five Primary Health Care Facilities in North Trinidad.
Results: The three most frequent URTIs diagnosed were non-specific URTI, common cold, and acute tonsillitis in rank order. Four patterns of prescribing were identified, (1) no drug therapy [1.9%]; (2) antibiotic therapy alone [6.1%]; (3) antibiotic and symptomatic therapy [53.0%]; and (4) symptomatic therapy alone [39.0%]. The, most frequently prescribed antibiotics were penicillins (amoxicillin [46.3%] and amoxicillin/clavulanate [5.3%]) and a macrolide (erythromycin [6.1%]). The three symptomatic agents most frequently prescribed were paracetamol [40.1%]; diphenhydramine [29.1%]; and normal saline nasal drops [14.2%]. In 112 cases with swab analyses done, of these, 98.2% revealed a growth of commensals only, while 1.8% grew pathogenic micro-organisms. Of the cases showing commensal growth only, 84.6% were treated with an antibiotic, 14.5% were treated with symptomatic agents alone and 0.9% received no drug therapy at all.
Conclusions: A large proportion of paediatric patients diagnosed with an URTI in North Trinidad was prescribed antibiotics although not indicated The inappropriate use of antibiotics can potentiate the worldwide trend of antimicrobial resistance.
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