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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


BERQUO, Laura S; BARROS, Aluísio J D; LIMA, Rosângela C  and  BERTOLDI, Andréa D. Use of drugs to treat respiratory tract infections in the community. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2004, vol.38, n.3, pp.358-364. ISSN 1518-8787.

OBJECTIVE: This study describes the utilization of drugs to treat respiratory tract infections in a community setting. The description of antimicrobial and non-antimicrobial drugs use is important to design interventions aimed at improving treatment strategies for these common illnesses. METHODS: In a population-based cross-sectional study, 6145 individuals living in an urban area in southern Brazil were inquired about the use of drugs for the treatment of respiratory tract infections in the 30 days previous to the interview. The Pearson chi-square test was used for statistical analyses. RESULTS: The global prevalence of respiratory infections treated with drugs was 6.3%. The prevalence was higher for children under 4 years of age (18%) and lower for the elderly (3%; p<0.001). Fifty-nine percent of the individuals used antimicrobials to treat respiratory infections. "Sore throat" was the main clinical condition associated with drug use (41%). Amoxicilin was the antimicrobial drug most frequently used (38%), while non-steroidal antiinflamatory drugs were the most frequent among the non-antimicrobial drugs (27%). CONCLUSIONS: Antimicrobials were used in nearly 60% of the respiratory tract infections treated with some drug, even though they are mostly viral in their origin. The indiscriminate use of these drugs not only raises the costs of treatments, but may also lead to the emergence of bacterial resistance against the antimicrobials.

Keywords : Respiratory tract infections [chemotherapy]; Respiratory tract infections [epidemiology]; Drug utilization; Antibiotics [therapeutic use]; Cross-sectional studies; Prevalence.

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