(HealthDay)—A high number of adult Medicaid enrollees receive antimicrobial drugs unnecessarily for acute respiratory tract infections (ARIs), according to a study published in the May issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Pengxiang Li, Ph.D., from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues analyzed 2007 U.S. Medicaid data from patients ≥21 years of age from 40 states. Patients who received index visit diagnoses for which antimicrobial drugs were appropriate were excluded. The drug claim was presumed to have been prescribed for an ARI if the prescription was filled on the same date that the patient visited the physician for the ARI or within four days of this index visit.
The researchers found that 52 percent of adult Medicaid patients with ARIs filled prescriptions for antimicrobial drugs. Higher county-level availability of primary care physicians and state-level participation in a campaign for appropriate antimicrobial drug use were two factors associated with lower likelihood of use.
"That a high percentage of adult Medicaid enrollees with ARIs received antimicrobial drugs unnecessarily raises concern about further widespread use with the upcoming expansion in Medicaid enrollment under health care reform," the authors write.