The rate at which outpatient antibiotic prescriptions were filled declined 2 percent among Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield commercially insured members in Iowa, compared to 9 percent nationally from 2010 through 2016, according to a new study by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA).
Data also show Wellmark members filled 5 percent less broad-spectrum antibiotics, used to treat a wide range of bacteria, compared to a 13 percent decline nationally.
Pediatricians have led the way in curtailing antibiotics, with prescriptions filled for children dropping 9 percent in Iowa. Nationally, prescriptions filled for children dropped 16 percent, and newborns and infants (up to one year old) declined 22 percent.
Within Iowa, there was a noticeable variation in the rate of antibiotic prescriptions filled in different cities across the state.
In Cedar Rapids, there was a 28 percent change in antibiotic prescriptions filled, 38 percent percent change in broad-spectrum antibiotic prescriptions filled and a 61 percent change in pediatric antibiotic prescriptions filled. In Iowa City, there was a -14 percent change in antibiotic prescriptions filled, -22 percent percent change in broad-spectrum antibiotic prescriptions filled and a -24 percent change in pediatric antibiotic prescriptions filled.
The report, “Antibiotic Prescription Fill Rates Declining in the U.S.,” represents a comprehensive study of outpatient medical claims from Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) members who filled antibiotics over a seven-year period.