John S. Barbieri, M.D., from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues used deidentified commercial claims data from Optum Clinformatics Data Mart to assess antibiotic prescribing by dermatologists from Jan. 1, 2008, to Dec. 31, 2016.
The researchers found that during the study period, 985,866 courses of oral antibiotics were prescribed by 11,986 unique dermatologists.
Overall, antibiotic prescribing among dermatologists declined by 36.6 percent (1.23 courses per 100 visits), from 3.36 to 2.13 courses per 100 visits (prevalence rate ratio for annual change, 0.931). Much of this decrease occurred among extended courses for acne and rosacea. However, the investigators observed a 69.6 percent (2.73 courses per 100 visits) increase in oral antibiotic use associated with surgical visits, from 3.92 to 6.65 courses per 100 visits (prevalence rate ratio, 1.061).
“Overall, our findings are hopefully a sign that we’re making progress, but we need to evaluate how we can optimize the use of antibiotics in dermatologic surgery,” Barbieri said in a statement.