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Fam Pract. 1995 Jun;12(2):166-70.

Antibiotic use in upper respiratory tract infections in New Zealand.

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Department of General Practice, Otago Medical School, Dunedin, New Zealand.


Upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) are a common reason for presentation to general practitioners. The current study used computerised consultation records of 100,222 patients from 17 general practices in New Zealand for the 12-month period 1 July 1991-30 June 1992. URTIs were noted in 8.9% of all consultations: 44.1% of cases were children aged less than 10 years. Females presented more frequently than males for all ages above five years. Fifteen different antibiotics were prescribed for URTIs, but in 22.5% of cases no antibiotic was prescribed. There was no statistically significant difference in the likelihood of a successful outcome with or without antibiotic therapy (chi 2 = 0.76, P > 0.05). The treatment failure profile of some antibiotics highlights the need for more prescriber education, especially as the range of medications available for general practitioner prescribing increases.

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