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Pediatrics. 2011 Jan;127(1):28-34. doi: 10.1542/peds.2010-1340. Epub 2010 Dec 27.

National trends in visit rates and antibiotic prescribing for children with acute sinusitis.

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Division of General Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA.



The heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine contributed to a substantial decrease in the number of ambulatory visits attributable to acute otitis media (AOM) and amoxicillin use for AOM increased after publication of American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines regarding AOM. Our objective was to determine whether similar trends occurred for children with acute sinusitis.


We analyzed data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (1998-2007), which are nationally representative surveys of office and emergency department visits. For children younger than 18 years with diagnosed acute sinusitis (N = 538), we examined time trends in visit rates and antibiotic prescribing. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to identify factors associated with narrow-spectrum antibiotic prescribing.


Between 1998 and 2007, the annual visit rate for acute sinusitis remained stable, ranging from 11 to 14 visits per 1000 children (P = .67). No change occurred in the proportion of visits with receipt of an antibiotic (82%; P = .71); however, the proportion with receipt of amoxicillin increased from 19% to 58% during the study period (P < .01). Prescriptions for broader-spectrum agents, especially macrolides (18% overall), remained common.


Unlike the visit rate for AOM, the visit rate for acute sinusitis among children did not decrease after introduction of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. Although prescriptions for amoxicillin increased in accordance with the guidelines, reducing unnecessary prescriptions for macrolides remains an important target for campaigns promoting judicious antibiotic use.

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