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October 25, 2000

Antibiotics in the ED

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JAMA. 2000;284(16):2048. doi:10.1001/jama.284.16.2048-JQU00008-4-1

Every year hundreds of thousands of emergency department (ED) patients in the United States receive inappropriate prescriptions for antibiotics to treat common colds and other viral infections, according to a new study.

The data, from the 1996 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, were published in the October Annals of Emergency Medicine. They show that of 2.7 million ED visits, one fourth of patients with colds or upper respiratory infections received a prescription for antibiotics, as did 40% of patients with acute bronchitis.