Can appropriate diagnosis and treatment of childhood asthma reduce excessive antibiotic usage?
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Introduction: This study compared the frequency of antibiotic usage and the number of asthma episodes before and after the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric asthma patients who were followed up by specialists. Subjects and Methods: Included in this study were 334 patients (211 males and 123 females) of 2-16 years of age who were diagnosed with asthma and followed up for at least 1 year in our clinic. The frequency of antibiotic usage and the number of asthma episodes in the year prior to diagnosis and treatment were compared to these same variables after 1 year of follow-up by specialists. Results: The median age was 84 months (range: 24-192) and 212 (63%) children were at school or in day care centers. Atopy and a family history of asthma were present in 200 (60%) of the patients, and 137 (41%) reported that at least one member of their household smoked. Antibiotics were used a median number of 7 times [interquartile range (IQR) = 6] in the year before the asthma diagnosis, and 2 times (IQR = 3) during the year after treatment (p < 0.001). The mean number of asthma episodes before diagnosis, i.e. 4 (IQR = 8) was reduced to 0 (IQR = 2) in the year after treatment when the patients were followed up by specialists (p < 0.001). Conclusion: This study shows that appropriate diagnosis and treatment of childhood asthma significantly reduce the frequency of antibiotic usage and the number of asthmatic episodes.