Can a nationwide media campaign affect antibiotic use?

Beatriz Hemo, Naamah H. Shamir-Shtein, Barbara G. Silverman, Judith Tsamir, Anthony D. Heymann, Sharon Tsehori, Nurit L. Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of a nationwide media campaign to reduce antibiotic overuse among children. Study Design: Prospective observational study of the pediatric population of a health maintenance organization (HMO) comparing antibiotic use during the baseline (November 2004-February 2005) and study (November 2005-February 2006) periods. Methods: During January 2006 the HMO conducted a media campaign to increase public awareness of the risks of misusing antibiotics, particularly for influenza-like diseases. Antibiotic purchasing rates during specific periods in the study winter were compared with those during corresponding periods in the baseline winter among children diagnosed with upper respiratory infection (URI), otitis media (OM), or pharyngitis. After the intervention, a random subset of the study population was surveyed by telephone to estimate the level of exposure to the campaign and attitudes toward antibiotic use. Results: The study population consisted of 101,401 children in the baseline winter and 84,979 in the study winter. We noted reductions in antibiotic purchasing for URI, OM, and pharyngitis during the postintervention period compared with the preintervention period (URI odds ratio [OR] = 0.75, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.69, 0.81; OM OR = 0.65, 95% CI = 0.59, 0.72; pharyngitis OR = 0.93, 95% CI = 0.89, 0.97). Parents of children with URI exposed to the media campaign were more likely to agree with standards of appropriate antibiotic use than parents not exposed (F1 = 4.18, P = .04). Conclusions: A media campaign aimed at changing patient behavior can contribute to reducing the rate of inappropriate antibiotic use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-534
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Managed Care
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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