Antibiotic Use, Costs Show Wide Regional Variations

Cheryl Clark, September 26, 2012

That compares with the lowest antibiotic use rates: 39.5% in Maine, 41.2% in New Hampshire, 41.4% in Wyoming, and 41.7% in Oregon.

Antibiotic spending varied as well, with most of the southern states and Texas in the highest bracket, of $38 to $47 per beneficiary, to most of the northeastern states, Montana, Oregon, Nevada, and Minnesota having the lowest rates, of $20–$27.

Zhang's report, which she says is the first to look at regional variation in antibiotic prescribing and cost, was published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Researchers from the University of California San Francisco and San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Centers were coauthors.

A separate article published by Tarayn Fairlie, MD, and other immunization experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 80% of outpatients diagnosed with acute sinusitis received an antibiotic, "despite mounting evidence that the benefits of antibiotic treatment for sinusitis are limited." 

The statistics were collected from a sample of 4.3 million outpatient visits collected the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey between 2000 and 2009 and were not limited to a Medicare population.

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