Antibiotic prescriptions for outpatient acute rhinosinusitis in Canada, 2007-2013

Prateek Sharma, Rita Finley, Scott Weese, Shiona Glass-Kaastra, Warren McIsaac

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Introduction: Acute rhinosinusitis (ARS) is a respiratory disease commonly caused by viral infections. Physicians regularly prescribe antibiotics despite bacterial etiologies being uncommon. This is of concern, as this use adds to the selection pressure for resistance. Here we present the descriptive epidemiology of acute rhinosinusitis and corresponding antibiotic prescribing practices by Canadian outpatient physicians from 2007–2013. Materials/Methods: Diagnosis and antibiotic prescription data for ARS were extracted from the Canadian Disease and Therapeutic Index for 2007 to 2013, and population data were acquired from Statistics Canada. ARS diagnosis and antibiotic prescription rates and frequencies of antibiotic classes were calculated. Results: Eighty-eight percent of patients diagnosed with ARS in 2013 were adults, with a greater rate of antibiotic prescriptions observed among the adults relative to the pediatric patients (1632.9 and 468.6 antibiotic prescriptions per 10,000 inhabitants). Between 2007 and 2013, the ARS diagnosis rate decreased from 596 to 464 diagnoses per 10,000 inhabitants, while the percentage of diagnoses with antibiotic prescriptions at the national level remained stable (87% to 84%). From 2007 to 2013, prescription rates for macrolides decreased from 203.5 to 105.4 prescriptions per 10,000 inhabitants. In 2013, penicillins with extended spectrum were more commonly prescribed compared to macrolides among adult patients (153.5 and 105.4 prescriptions per 10,000 inhabitants, respectively). Conclusion: This study is the first to describe physician antibiotic prescribing practices for treatment of ARS in Canada. Results show that antibiotic treatment for ARS represents an area for implementing antimicrobial stewardship, and through it, managing antibiotic resistance. Further work is required to better understand diagnosing practices and treatment criteria for ARS, and use this information to further assist physicians to limit unnecessary antibiotic prescribing practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0181957
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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