Despite a variety of programs developed to control inappropriate antibiotic prescribing for viral infections, antibiotics are still prescribed excessively for Respiratory Tract Infections (RTI). The patient's expectation to receive an antibiotic often influences the clinician's decision and can lead to inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions. Our objective was to investigate the changes in patient expectations over time when presenting with symptoms of a respiratory infection.
We performed a systematic review of patient's expectation to receive antibiotics for RTIs. Two reviewers independently evaluated the collected studies based on inclusion and exclusion criteria. Our search initially identified 12 070 studies, of which 321 studies were eligible for full text review and 37 articles were selected for final evaluation. Meta-regression analysis was used to evaluate the association between patient expectations and different years. Heterogeneity was evaluated using the Q statistic.
= 0.63). Meta-regression results revealed that there is a significant linear negative relationship (B = -1.8374, P < 0.05) between patient expectation and year of data collection, at the global level. A similar finding is observed for the subset of studies conducted outside United States (U.S.) (B = -1.2411, P < 0.1). However, there is no discernible trend for patient expectation in the U.S. or among children and adult subgroups. Also, no significant differences are observed between the patient expectations when considering different age groups.
The trend of patient expectation for receiving antibiotics for RTIs is declining over time on a global level and also outside the U.S.