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Parents are more satisfied when doctors prescribe antibiotics for their child's cough or cold symptoms

Antibiotic-resistant infections are a growing public health problem. Children receive an average of two to three antibiotic prescriptions a year, many of which are unnecessary. Clinicians believe that parents will be more satisfied with a visit when antibiotics are prescribed, and a new study supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS13195) suggests they are right. Researchers found that parents tended to be less satisfied when antibiotics were not prescribed after an initial visit for a child's cough and cold symptoms.

Researchers interviewed 378 parents of children 2 to 10 years of age who were seen at a pediatric clinic for cough and cold symptoms. The interviews were done by phone at least a week after the visit and parents were asked to rate their satisfaction with the initial visit on a 10-point scale, with 1 being completely dissatisfied and 10 being completely satisfied.

Nearly half of the children (47 percent) received antibiotics at the initial visit. Parents whose children received antibiotics at the initial visit gave higher satisfaction scores (9.25) compared to parents who did not (8.95). When children received antibiotics at a subsequent visit, parents' average satisfaction score was 7.25 compared to an average score of 6.25 for parents whose children did not.

More details are in "Association between parental satisfaction and antibiotic prescription for children with cough and cold symptoms," by Dr. Christakis, Jeffrey A. Wright, M.D., James A. Taylor, M.D., and Frederick J. Zimmerman, Ph.D., in the September 2005 Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal 24(9), pp. 1-4.

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