Appropriateness of antibiotic prescriptions for urinary tract infections

Paige C. Chardavoyne, Kathryn E. Kasmire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Introduction: Urinary tract infections (UTI) are a common indication for antibiotic use in the emergency department (ED). With antibiotic resistance on the rise, it is essential that antibiotics be prescribed appropriately for UTIs. Our objective was to evaluate the appropriateness of antibiotic prescriptions by ED providers for uncomplicated cystitis and pyelonephritis. Methods: We conducted a retrospective study of females ages 2-50 years seen in an academic ED from January 2017 to April 2018 diagnosed with UTI. We assessed the appropriateness of discharge antibiotic prescriptions, as determined by adherence to clinical practice guidelines, best evidence for the particular indication (cystitis vs pyelonephritis for children and adults), and the local antibiogram. Results: A total of 421 patients were included in this study. Of these, 60 children and 198 adults were diagnosed with cystitis, and 47 children and 116 adults were diagnosed with pyelonephritis. Treatment in the absence of true infection was common, with culture-confirmed UTI occurring in only 17/50 (34%) of children and 60/129 (47%) of adults diagnosed with cystitis, and 23/40 (58%) of children and 58/87 (67%) of adults diagnosed with pyelonephritis, among patients who had urine cultures. The type of antibiotic prescribed was appropriate in 53/60 (88%) of children and 135/198 (68%) of adults with cystitis, and 38/47 (81%) of children and 53/116 (46%) of adults with pyelonephritis. The most common inappropriate antibiotic types were beta-lactams in adults (n = 92), nitrofurantoin for pyelonephritis (n = 16), and amoxicillin (n = 15). Dosing and duration errors were also common, occurring in 122/279 (44%) of prescriptions of an appropriate antibiotic type. The frequency of errors in the type of antibiotic prescribed was similar among provider types (attending physician, resident physician, and advanced practice clinician; p = 0.926). Conclusion: This study reveals room for improvement in antibiotic prescription practices across provider cohorts in the ED for the management of uncomplicated cystitis and pyelonephritis in females.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)633-639
Number of pages7
JournalWestern Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Emergency Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Appropriateness of antibiotic prescriptions for urinary tract infections'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this