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Identifying patterns of primary care antibiotic prescribing for a spinal cord injury (SCI) cohort using an electronic medical records (EMR) database


Background — Individuals with a spinal cord injury (SCI) are considered higher users of antibiotics. However, to date there have been no detailed studies investigating outpatient antibiotic use in this population.

Objectives — (1) To describe primary care antibiotic prescribing patterns in adults with SCI rostered to a primary care physician (PCP), and (2) to identify patient or PCP factors associated with number of antibiotics prescribed and antibiotic prescription duration.

Methods —A retrospective cohort study using linked health administrative and electronic medical records (EMR) databases from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2015 among 432 adults with SCI in Ontario, Canada. Negative binomial regression analyses were conducted to identify patient or physician factors associated with number of antibiotics prescribed and prescription duration.

Results — During the study period, 61.1% of the SCI cohort received an antibiotic prescription from their PCP. There were 59.8% of prescriptions for urinary tract infections (UTI) and 24.6% of prescriptions for fluoroquinolones. Regression analysis found catheter use was associated with increased number of antibiotics prescribed (relative risk [RR] = 3.1; 95% CI, 2.3-4.1; p < .001) and late career PCPs, compared to early-career PCPs, prescribed a significantly longer duration (RR = 1.8; 95% CI, 1.1-3.1; p = .02).

Conclusion — UTIs were the number one prescription indication, and fluoroquinolones were the most prescribed antibiotic. Catheter use was associated with number of antibiotics, and PCP’s years of practice was associated with duration. The study provided important information about primary care antibiotic prescribing in the SCI population and found that not all individuals received frequent antibiotics prescriptions.



Senthinathan A, Penner M, Tu K, Morris AM, Craven BC, Li Z, Guan J, Jaglal SB. Top Spinal Cord Inj Rehabil. 2023; 29(suppl):153–64. Epub 2023 Nov 17.

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