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Study: North Dakota antibiotic prescriptions declining

FARGO — Prescriptions of antibiotics in North Dakota clinics fell by 20 percent from 2010 to 2016 among patients covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.

The decline was documented in a new report by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, released on Monday, Nov. 13.

Prescriptions of broad-spectrum antibiotics, used to treat a wide range of bacteria, decreased by 23 percent in North Dakota, a larger decline than the 13 percent drop nationally.

The decrease in antibiotic prescriptions was most pronounced among pediatricians, whose prescriptions of antibiotics dropped 31 percent, almost double the 16 percent observed nationally, the report said.

In 2010, North Dakota was among the states with the highest usage of antibiotics, according to Paul Carson, a professor at North Dakota State University. Usage rates are higher in rural areas in North Dakota.

"While this is a great improvement that should be celebrated, there is still much work to do," said Carson, noting that North Dakota now ranks in the middle of states. "But we want to be among the most judicious states that set the standard for prescribing antibiotics appropriately."