Antibiotic Prescribing to Adults With Sore Throat in the United States, 1997-2010 | Infectious Diseases | JAMA Internal Medicine | JAMA Network
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Research Letter
January 2014

Antibiotic Prescribing to Adults With Sore Throat in the United States, 1997-2010

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of General Medicine and Primary Care, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(1):138-140. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.11673

Among adults seeking care with sore throat, the prevalence of group A Streptococcus (GAS) infection—the only common cause of sore throat requiring antibiotics—is about 10%.1 Penicillin remains the antibiotic of choice. Penicillin is narrow-spectrum, well-tolerated, and inexpensive, and GAS is universally susceptible to penicillin.

We previously found that the antibiotic prescribing rate for adults making a visit with sore throat dropped from about 80% to 70% around 1993.2 Since then, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others have continued efforts to reduce inappropriate antibiotic prescribing.3-5 To measure changes in antibiotic prescribing for adults with sore throat, we conducted a cross-sectional analysis of ambulatory visits in the United States.