Short Office Visits Linked To More Antibiotic Prescriptions

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Kathryn A. Martinez PhD MPH CanSORT Cancer Surveillance and Outcomes Research Team Cleveland Clinic

Dr Martinez

Dr. Kathryn A. Martinez PhD MPH
CanSORT Cancer Surveillance and Outcomes Research Team
Cleveland Clinic

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Most upper respiratory infections are viral and therefore should not be treated with antibiotics. Despite this, physicians commonly prescribe them for these conditions. Patients often expect antibiotics for respiratory tract infections.  As a result, physicians may find it easier to give patients what they want rather than explain to them why antibiotics aren’t needed.

We hypothesized it also might be more time consuming for physicians to explain to patients why they don’t need antibiotics, which creates a further incentive to prescribe them. To explore this potential phenomenon, we used data from a large direct to consumer telemedicine system to assess differences in medical encounter length by prescription outcome for patients diagnosed with respiratory tract infections.

We found that encounters resulting in antibiotics were 0.33 minutes shorter than those that resulted in no prescriptions, supporting our hypothesis that prescribing an antibiotic takes less time than prescribing nothing.

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Antibiotics Still Overprescribed in Many Outpatient Settings

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Katherine Fleming-Dutra, MD, senior author Deputy Director Office of Antibiotic Stewardship CDC

Dr. Fleming-Dutra

Dr. Katherine Fleming-Dutra MD
Deputy Director
Office of Antibiotic Stewardship
CDC

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Antibiotics are life-saving medications that treat bacterial infections. Any time antibiotics are used, they can lead to antibiotic resistance and could cause side effects such as rashes and adverse events, such as Clostridium difficile infection, which is a very serious and sometimes even fatal diarrheal disease. This is why it is so important to only use antibiotics when they are needed. When antibiotics aren’t needed, they won’t help you and the side effects could still hurt you.

A previous study* reported at least 30% of antibiotic prescriptions written in doctor’s offices and emergency departments were unnecessary. However, the data from that study did not include urgent care centers or retail health clinics. We conducted the current analysis to examine antibiotic prescribing patterns in urgent care centers, retail health clinics, emergency departments, and medical offices.

*Fleming-Dutra, K., et al. (2016). “Prevalence of Inappropriate Antibiotic Prescriptions Among US Ambulatory Care Visits, 2010-2011.” JAMA: the Journal of the American Medical Association 315(17): 1864-1873. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2518263

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Air Pollution Linked To Increased Respiratory Infections in Kids

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Benjamin D. Horne, PhD Director of Cardiovascular and Genetic Epidemiology Intermountain Heart Institute Intermountain Medical Center Salt Lake City, Utah 

Dr. Horne

Benjamin D. Horne, PhD
Director of Cardiovascular and Genetic Epidemiology
Intermountain Heart Institute
Intermountain Medical Center
Salt Lake City, Utah 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Evidence suggests that short-term elevations (even for just a few days) of fine particulate matter air pollution (PM2.5, which is particulate matter less than 2.5 um or about one-thirtieth the diameter of a human hair) is associated with various poor health outcomes among adults, including myocardial infarction, heart failure exacerbation, and worsening of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease symptoms. Studies of long-term exposure to moderately elevated levels of PM2.5 indicate that chronic daily air pollution exposure may contribute to death due to pneumonia and influenza.

Research regarding the association of short-term elevations in PM2.5 has provided some limited evidence of a possible association between short-term PM2.5 increases and infection with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) or bronchiolitis in children, but scientifically these reports have been weak and unreliable, probably because they have only looked at a period of a few days to a week after short-term PM2.5 elevations. An evaluation of a very large population in a geographic location that provides a wide variation in PM2.5 levels from lowest to highest levels and that examines longer periods of time after the PM2.5 elevations is needed to determine whether a PM2.5 association with lower respiratory infection exists.

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Vitamin D May Have Protective Role Against Respiratory Infections

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Adrian R Martineau
B Med Sci DTM&H MRCP PhD
Clinical Professor of Respiratory Infection and Immunity
Centre for Primary Care and Public Health.
Blizard Institute, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry
Queen Mary, University of London

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In addition to its well-known effects on bone, Vitamin D has also been shown to boost immune responses to viruses and bacteria that cause respiratory infections in lab experiments.

In order to see whether these effects translate into a health benefit, a total of 25 clinical trials of vitamin D supplementation to prevent various respiratory infections have been carried out in around 11,000 people living in 14 different countries over the last decade.

These trials have yielded conflicting results: in some, vitamin D reduced the risk of infections, but in others it did not.

The reason why vitamin D ‘worked’ in some trials, but not in others, has been the subject of much debate.

In order to answer this question, we assembled an international consortium of investigators and compiled the raw data from every trial into a single database containing information from 10,933 people in total. This allowed us to run sub-group analyses to determine whether particular groups of people benefit more from vitamin D supplementation than others.

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Cow’s Milk May Be Protective Against Childhood Infections

Georg Loss, PhD Dr. von Hauner Children’s Hospital Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich Munich, GermanyMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Georg Loss, PhD
Dr. von Hauner Children’s Hospital
Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich
Munich, Germany


Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Loss: In this large population based cohort study we observed that consumption of fresh unprocessed cow’s milk protected from respiratory infections, febrile illness and inflammation of the middle ear during the first year of life. The risk of developing these conditions was reduced by up to 30%, and the effect was diminished if the milk was heated at home before consumption. Conventionally pasteurized milk retained the ability to reduce the risk of febrile illness, while exposure to the higher temperatures used in UHT (Ultra-heat-treatment) processing eliminated the effect altogether. Importantly, the positive impact of fresh milk could be clearly separated from the confounding effects of other elements of the children’s nutrition. Furthermore, infants fed on unprocessed milk were found to have lower levels of the C-reactive protein, which is a measure of inflammation status.

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Does Nebulized Hypertonic Saline Improve Pediatric Bronchiolitis ?

Susan Wu MD Division of Hospital Medicine, Children's Hospital Los Angeles Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern CaliforniaMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Susan Wu MD
Division of Hospital Medicine, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California


MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Wu: We performed a randomized trial at 2 urban free-standing children’s hospitals, comparing inhaled 3% hypertonic saline to 0.9% normal saline in patients under 24 months with bronchiolitis. Patients with prematurity less than 34 weeks, cyanotic heart disease, chronic pulmonary disease, and previous episodes of wheezing or bronchodilator use were excluded. Patients were 4 mL of study medication nebulized up to 3 times in the emergency department; if admitted, patients continued to receive the assigned study medication three times a day until discharge. A total of 408 patients were analyzed. We found that 28.9% of patients treated with hypertonic saline required hospital admission, compared with 42.6% of patients in the normal saline group.
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Type 1 Diabetes and Respiratory Infections in Childhood

Andreas Beyerlein, PhD  Institute of Diabetes Research, Helmholtz Zentrum München and Forschergruppe Diabetes der Technischen Universität München, Munich, GermanyMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Andreas Beyerlein, PhD

Institute of Diabetes Research, Helmholtz Zentrum München and Forschergruppe Diabetes der Technischen Universität München, Munich, Germany

MedicalResearch.com What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Beyerlein: We identified respiratory infections in early childhood, especially in the first year of life, as a risk factor for islet autoimmunity, which is known as a precursor of type 1 diabetes (T1D). We also found some evidence for short term effects of infectious events on development of autoimmunity.
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