Factors that can lead to overprescribing of antibiotics

For URTIs, symptomatic relief is often all that is necessary and antibiotics only have a modest effect, if any, on the duration of symptoms. However, there are many factors that continue to influence the overprescribing of antibiotics.

Patient/parent factors

  • Anxiety
  • Misconception about what antibiotics do
  • Belief in healing power of the healthcare professional
  • Return to work needs
  • Day-care needs

Healthcare professional factors

  • Real or perceived patient/parent pressure
  • Economic concerns (eg, patients missing work, loss of client for healthcare professional)
  • Reduced appointment time, allowing little time to educate patient
  • Responsiveness to patient satisfaction surveys that may be salary-linked
  • Lack of knowledge, or awareness of knowledge that is not implemented