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Inappropriate antibiotic prescribing still widespread

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The drugs are being routinely prescribed for children with bronchiolitis, a common viral lung infection, even though they rarely have any therapeutic value – and they come with a host of side effects that result in 70,000 children needing emergency care in US hospitals every year.

Guidelines first warned against the use of antibiotics for bronchiolitis in 2006, unless there was also bacterial infection, and yet emergency ward doctors are still prescribing them to around a quarter of children with the virus – even though 70 per cent of them didn’t have any bacterial infection.

Researchers from McGill University who carried out the research say there is still an enormous lag between evidence-based guidelines and clinical practice.

Bronchiolitis is a common lung infection among young children, especially those under the age of two.

(Source: Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, 2019; doi: 10.1093/jpids/piy131)

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