Population-based assessment of factors influencing antibiotic prescribing for adults with dengue infection in Taiwan

Chia En Lien, Yiing Jenq Chou, Yi Jung Shen, Theodore Tsai*, Nicole Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Antibiotic treatment for dengue is likely considerable and potentially avoidable but has not been well characterized. This study aimed to assess antibiotic prescribing for confirmed dengue cases in outpatient and inpatient settings and to identify associated patient, physician and contextual factors. Methods 57,301 adult dengue cases reported in Taiwan between 2008–2015 were analyzed. We assessed both outpatient and inpatient claims data of dengue patients from a week before to a week after their dengue infections were confirmed under Taiwan’s National Health Insurance program. A multivariable logistic regression with generalized estimating equations was used to estimate the probability of antibiotic prescribing in dengue patients. Results Overall, 24.6% of dengue patients were prescribed an antibiotic during the 14 day-assessment period. Antibiotics were prescribed in 6.1% and 30.1% of outpatient visits and inpatient admissions, respectively. Antibiotic prescriptions were reduced by ~50% in epidemic years. Among inpatients, advanced age, females, and major comorbidities were risk factors for receipt of an antibiotic; antibiotics were used in 26.0% of inpatients after dengue was diagnosed. Significant differences in antibiotic prescribing practices were observed among physicians in outpatient settings but not in inpatient settings. Conclusions In addition to patient and physician demographic characteristics, contextual factors such as care setting and during epidemics significantly influenced prescription of antibiotics. Characterization of prescribing patterns should help direct programs to curb antibiotic prescribing.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0010198
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022


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