Introduction: We aimed to investigate doctors' ad-herence to the local antibiotic guidelines for treatment of patients admitted with acute pharyngeal infections and to identify patient-related risk factors for non-adherence.
Methods: All patients with acute tonsillitis, peritonsillar abscess (PTA), and parapharyngeal abscess admitted to the Ear-Nose-Throat Department, Aarhus University Hospital, in the 2001-2014 period were included in the study.
Results: In total, 2,567 patients were hospitalised with acute pharyngeal infection. In non-allergic patients, penicillin was prescribed to 81%, either alone (48%) or in combination with metronidazole (33%). Macrolides (54%) and cefuroxime (44%) were the drugs of choice in 85 (98%) patients who were allergic to penicillin. Patients were prescribed antibiotics according to guidelines in 63% of cases. The addition of metronidazole to penicillin was the main (75% of cases) reason for non-adherence. Increasing patient age and male gender were independent risk factors for non-adherence. PTA patients treated according to the guidelines had a significantly shorter hospital stay than patients treated with additional metronidazole or broad-spectrum antibiotics.
Conclusions: A significant (37%) proportion of patients with acute pharyngeal infections were treated non-adherently to antibiotic guidelines, mainly because of (inappropriate) addition of metronidazole to penicillin.
Funding: This work was supported by the Lundbeck Foundation (Grant number R185-2014-2482).
Trial Registration: The study was approved by the Danish Data Protection Agency.
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