What Parents Think About the Risks and Benefits of Antibiotics for Their Child's Acute Respiratory Tract Infection.

TitleWhat Parents Think About the Risks and Benefits of Antibiotics for Their Child's Acute Respiratory Tract Infection.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsSzymczak JE, Klieger SB, Miller M, Fiks AG, Gerber JS
JournalJ Pediatric Infect Dis Soc
Start Page303
Date Published2018 Dec 3

Background: Parental pressure is often cited as a reason for why pediatricians overuse antibiotics for children with acute respiratory tract infection (ARTI). We sought to capture parent perceptions of antibiotics at the time of their child's presentation with an ARTI.

Methods: We conducted semistructured interviews with parents of children who presented with ARTI symptoms to 1 of 4 diverse practices in a large hospital-affiliated network of pediatric primary care practices. Parents were interviewed before their child was seen by the pediatrician and asked about their perceptions of antibiotics.

Results: Interviews were conducted with 109 parents. None of the parents said they planned to ask the pediatrician for antibiotics but instead expected to gain reassurance and a plan to minimize symptoms. Three perceptions about antibiotics were identified: parents have a sense of wariness when their child is prescribed antibiotics, they have an understanding that antibiotic overuse is a problem but that it is driven by the demands of other parents, and they have a preference for alternative treatment. The majority of the parents were not concerned about antibiotic resistance. In response to closed-ended questions designed to assess their level of concern with adverse effects, parents were most concerned with their child developing an upset stomach, having an allergic reaction, and experiencing diarrhea. The parents were not concerned with antibiotic treatment failure.

Conclusions: Parents in our study expressed a sense of caution about antibiotics and an awareness that they should be used judiciously. Our findings indicate that parents are aware of the downsides of antibiotics and might be willing to partner with healthcare providers to improve appropriate use.

Alternate JournalJ Pediatric Infect Dis Soc
PubMed ID28992328