Appropriate Antibiotic Usage

According to the CDC, antibiotic resistance can be called one of the world's most pressing public health problems.  Almost every type of bacteria has become stronger and less responsive to antibiotic treatment when it is really needed.

AmeriHealth Caritas Pennsylvania fully supports and encourages all providers to follow the CDC's recommendation of how healthcare providers can prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance by:

  • Only prescribing  antibiotic therapy when it is likely to be beneficial to the patient
  • Using an agent targeting likely pathogens
  • Using the antibiotic for the appropriate dose and duration

Adult Appropriate Antibiotic Use Summary (PDF)

Pediatric Appropriate Antibiotic Use Summary (PDF)

Provider Communication Tips

Dr. Lauri Hicks, Medical Director of the CDC's Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work program, suggests five communication strategies that can impact patient understanding:

  1. Provide a specific diagnosis, e.g., say "viral bronchitis" instead of referring to an illness a "just a virus".
  2. Recommend symptomatic relief. Patients may not realize that effective symptomatic therapies can provide the relief they are seeking.  Write a prescription for over-the-counter products. Please see the "Get Smart Rx Sheets" in the list of links at the bottom of this page.
  3. Share normal findings as you go through your exam.  Reassure your patients and let them know that their lungs sound clear, or that you aren't seeing inflammation in their child's ear.
  4. Discuss potential side effect of antibiotic use, including adverse events and resistance.  Many patients don't realize that antibiotics can be harmful.
  5. Explain what to expect over the next few days.  Give patients a plan of action in case symptoms do change or become severe, including that you will reevaluate the situation and prescribe antibiotics if medically appropriate.

The CDC's dedicated site to the Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work program has a wealth of materials to use with patients, communication resources and continuing education opportunities.  Visit their website at

**Important reminder: AmeriHealth Caritas Pennsylvania supports this strategy and covers certain over-the-counter medications with a prescription, including, but not limited to:

  • Guaifenesin 100mg/5ml syrup
  • Guaifenesin ER 600mg 12 hour tablets
  • Guaifenesin/Pseudeoephedrine 600mg/60mg 12 hour tablets
  • Guaifenesin/phenylephrine/dextromethorphan 100mg/5mg/10mg per 5 ml syrup
  • Guaifenesin/dextromethorphan 100mg/10mg per 5 ml syrup
  • Pseudoephedrine 60mg tablets

Materials for Providers

Information to Share with Patients