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Outpatient Antibiotic Prescriptions — United States, 2015

Healthcare providers prescribed 269.4 million antibiotic prescriptions—equivalent to 838 antibiotic prescriptions per 1000 persons.

Print only version: Outpatient Antibiotic Prescriptions — United States, 2015  [PDF – 366 KB]

Citation: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Outpatient antibiotic prescriptions — United States, 2015.

Data Sources:

Systemic oral antibiotics were extracted from the QuintilesIMS Xponent database. QuintilesIMS captured an estimated 88% of outpatient prescriptions for any medication nationally, reconciled them to wholesale deliveries, and projected to 100% coverage. These data represent all outpatient antibiotic prescriptions from community pharmacies from all payers, but exclude federal facilities. Provider specialties are taken from the American Medical Association (AMA) self-designated practice specialties and categorized into one of 17 groups. Population data were obtained from the U.S. Census bridging files.

References

Hicks, L.A., et al., US Outpatient Antibiotic Prescribing Variation According to Geography, Patient Population, and Provider Specialty in 2011. Clin Infect Dis, 2015. 60(9): p. 1308-16.

Table 1. Oral antibiotic prescriptions by age, sex and region—United States, 2015

Age group NUMBER OF ANTIBIOTIC PRESCRIPTIONS (MILLIONS) ANTIBIOTIC PRESCRIPTIONS PER 1,000 PERSONS, RATE
<20 yearsa 64.7 778
≥20 yearsa 203.3 850
Sex NUMBER OF ANTIBIOTIC PRESCRIPTIONS (MILLIONS) ANTIBIOTIC PRESCRIPTIONS PER 1,000 PERSONS, RATE
Femalea 164.0 1,005
Malea 104.9 663
Region NUMBER OF ANTIBIOTIC PRESCRIPTIONS (MILLIONS) ANTIBIOTIC PRESCRIPTIONS PER 1,000 PERSONS, RATE
Northeastb 48.8 867
Midwestb 61.0 898
Southb 111.5 920
Westb 48.1 632

aTotals may not add to all oral prescriptions (269.4 million) due to missing data
bTotals may not add to all oral prescriptions (269.4 million) due to rounding.


Table 2. Top oral antibiotic classes and agents prescribed—United States, 2015

ANTIBIOTIC CLASS NUMBER OF ANTIBIOTIC PRESCRIPTIONS (MILLIONS) ANTIBIOTIC PRESCRIPTIONS PER 1,000 PERSONS, RATE
Penicillins 61.6 192
Macrolides 49.4 154
Cephalosporins 36.3 113
Fluoroquinolones 32.5 101
Beta-lactams, increased activity 25.3 79
ANTIBIOTIC AGENT NUMBER OF ANTIBIOTIC PRESCRIPTIONS (MILLIONS) ANTIBIOTIC PRESCRIPTIONS PER 1,000 PERSONS, RATE
Amoxicillin 54.8 171
Azithromycin 46.2 144
Amoxicillin/clavulanic acid 25.3 79
Cephalexin 21.4 67
Ciprofloxacin 20.3 63

Table 3. Oral antibiotic prescribing by provider specialty — United States, 2015

PROVIDER SPECIALTY NUMBER OF ANTIBIOTIC PRESCRIPTIONS (MILLIONS) ANTIBIOTIC PRESCRIPTIONS PER PROVIDER, RATE
Primary Care Physicians 110.8 466
Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners 62.9 363
Surgical Specialties 19.5 219
Dentistry 25.1 205
Emergency Medicine 14.8 457
Dermatology 7.1 628
Obstetrics/Gynecology 6.3 167
Other 22.9 110
All Providers 269.4 295

Figure 1. Antibiotic prescriptions per 1000 persons by state (sextiles) for all ages — United States, 2015.

Outpatient Antibiotic Prescribing Map per 1,000 populations by State Each year 269.4 antibiotic prescriptions are written in the United States. Enough to give 4 of every 5 people one prescription.  Tan states are lowest prescribing states ranging from 511-668 outpatient prescriptions per 1,000 Yellow states prescribe between 696-759 outpatient prescriptions per 1,000 Orange states prescribe between 769-845 outpatient prescriptions per 1,000 Burnt orange states prescribe between 864-915 outpatient prescriptions per 1,000 Red states prescribe between 918-1,016 outpatient prescriptions per 1,000 Maroon states prescribe the most between 1018-1319 outpatient prescriptions per 1,000.


This project was made possible through a partnership with the CDC Foundation. Support for this project was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

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