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How location of care impacts prescriptions for pneumonia and sinusitis


The location where care is received can impact how medication is prescribed. A report examines how location impacts care for pneumonia and sinusitis.

Opioids and corticosteroids are sometimes prescribed to children suffering from pneumonia or sinusitis. A report in Pediatrics examines the frequency of the prescriptions as well as whether location of care had an impact.1

The investigators used 2016 South Carolina Medicaid claims data for patient aged 5 to 18 years who had been diagnosed with either pneumonia or sinusitis. The visits for care were linked to 3 different locations: the ambulatory setting, urgent care, or the emergency department (ED). The inclusion criteria for the study were met by 31,838 children.

They found that visits for pneumonia were more likely to result in an opioid prescription in the ED (34 of 542 visits) than the ambulatory setting (24 of 1590 visits). They were also most likely to result in a steroid prescription in the ED (106 of 542 visits) than in the ambulatory settings (196 of 1590 visits). In cases of sinusitis, opioids (202 of 2705 visits) and steroids (510 of 2705 visits) were more likely in ED visits than in ambulatory settings (opioid: 568 of 26,866 visits, steroids: 1922 of 26,866 visits). Following logistic regression, visits to the ED were linked to increased odds of being prescribed opioids or steroids for the treatment of pneumonia and sinusitis.

Researchers concluded that location of care did impact whether a child was given a prescription when treated for certain conditions.


1. Phang KG, Roberts JR, Ebeling M, Garner SS, Basco WT. Opioids or steroids for pneumonia or sinusitis. Pediatrics. 2020:146(1):e20193690. doi:10.1542/peds.2019-3690

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