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Aten Primaria. 2010 Jan;42(1):28-35. doi: 10.1016/j.aprim.2009.04.018. Epub 2009 Aug 26.

[Antibiotic prescribing in respiratory tract infections and predictive factors for their use].

[Article in Spanish]

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Centro de Salud Jaume I, Tarragona, Spain.



Happy Audit project is a European-funded survey aimed at reducing antibiotic prescribing for respiratory tract infections (RTI). The aim of this study is to investigate the antibiotic treatment administered for these RTIs in Spain and to find out which criteria are associated with its use.


Cross-sectional study carried out in January and February 2008.


Primary health care.


General practitioners registered all the RTI during a 3-week period using a template.


Age and gender, days with symptoms, signs presented (fever, cough, purulent ear discharge, sore throat, tonsillar exudate, swollen neck glands, dyspnoea, increase in sputum, purulent sputum), diagnosis, antibiotic therapy and demand of antibiotics. A logistic regression with the prescription of antibiotic as the dependent variable was performed.


Out of the 332 physicians invited to participate, 309 filled in and returned the templates (93.1%), registering 16,751 RTIs, with the common cold (39.7%), pharyngitis (14.4%) and acute bronchitis (12.6%) being the most common. Antibiotic therapy was given to 4,675 RTIs (27.9%), mainly for pneumonia (89.9%), tonsillitis (88.9%), and otitis media (87.3%). The criterion most associated with antibiotic therapy was the presence of tonsillar exudate (OR: 32.1; 95CI%: 24.5-42), followed by ear discharge (25.2; 95%CI: 18.2-35) and purulence of sputum (18.1; 95%CI: 15.5-21.2); conversely, cough (OR: 0.4; 95%CI: 0.3-0.5) was considered as protective factor.


Antibiotic treatment for RTIs is very high in our country. This study provides information on the criteria that predict this antibiotic therapy and is important to take into account if a more rational use of antibiotics is required.

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