Does drug treatment of patients with acute bronchitis reduce additional care seeking? Evidence from the Practice Partner Research Network

Journal Name: 
Arch Fam Med
BACKGROUND: Considerable discussion has focused on treatment methods for patients with acute bronchitis. OBJECTIVE: To examine whether antibiotic or bronchodilator treatment is associated with differences in follow-up visit rates for patients with acute bronchitis. METHODS: A retrospective medical chart review was conducted for patients with a new episode of acute bronchitis over a 3-year period in the Practice Partner Research Network (29,248 episodes in 24,753 patients). Primary outcomes of interest were another visit in the next 14 days (early follow-up) or 15 to 28 days after initial treatment (late follow-up). RESULTS: Antibiotics were used more commonly in younger patients (65 years) were more likely to receive no treatment. Younger patients treated with antibiotics were less likely to return for an early follow-up visit, but no differences were seen in adults and older patients. Late follow-up rates were not affected by the initial treatment strategy. When patients did return for a follow-up visit, no new medication was prescribed to most (66% of younger patients and 78% of older adults). However, compared with patients who did not receive an antibiotic at their first visit, patients initially treated with an antibiotic were about 50% more likely to receive a new antibiotic at their second visit. CONCLUSIONS: Initial prescribing of an antibiotic reduces early follow-up for acute bronchitis in younger patients but seems to have no effect in adults. However, reductions in future follow-up visits might be outweighed by increases in antibiotic consumption because patients who return for a follow-up visit seem to receive additional antibiotic prescriptions. Arch Fam Med. 2000;9:997-1001
3110, Acute Disease, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Antibiotics: therapeutic use, Bronchitis, Bronchitis: drug therapy, Bronchodilator Agents: therapeutic use, Child, differences, Human, medical, Methods, Middle Age, Office Visits: utilization, older, patient, Patients, PPRNet, Research, Retrospective Studies, review, Support,Non-U.S.Gov't