Healthcare Insights

What were the most prescribed antibiotics of 2022?

You’ve most likely taken an antibiotic or anti-infective at least once in your lifetime. From treatments for painful strep throat or ear infections as a child, to burning urinary tract infections or itchy skin infections as an adult, antibiotics are one of the most highly used drugs in medicine. Antibiotics are used to treat a broad variety of bacterial infections. They are classified according to their antibacterial activity and chemical structure.

Using data pulled from our Atlas Prescription Claims dataset, we’ve ranked the top 10 most prescribed antibiotics of 2022 below. 

Top 10 most prescribed antibiotics of 2022

RankDRUG name% of all prescriptions dispensed in 2022Explore dataset
1 Amoxicillin 29.00%Explore
2 Azithromycin 15.40%Explore
3 Amoxicillin and Clavulanate Potassium 13.10%Explore
4 Cephalexin 12.00%Explore
5 Sulfamethoxazole and Trimethoprim 8.30%Explore
6 Nitrofurantoin (monohydrate/macrocrystals) 3.10%Explore
8 Azithromycin Dihydrate 2.10%Explore
9 Nitrofurantoin Monohydrate/ Macrocrystalline 1.60%Explore
10 Erythromycin 1.40%Explore

Fig. 1 Data is from Definitive Healthcare’s Atlas Prescription Claims dataset for the calendar year 2022. Claims data is sourced from multiple medical claims clearinghouses in the United States and is updated monthly. Data accurate as of March 2023.

What were the most common antibiotics prescribed in 2022?

Unsurprisingly, the most popularly prescribed antibiotics of the last year were all generic medications.

The most prescribed antibiotic in 2022 was amoxicillin, which accounted for 29% of the total prescribed antibiotics. Amoxicillin is used to treat bacterial infections such as pneumonia, bronchitis, certain skin conditions, and kidney and blood infections. Amoxicillin belongs to the penicillin group of medications.

In second place is azithromycin, which accounted for 15.4% of all prescribed antibiotics in 2022. Azithromycin belongs to the macrolides group of antibiotics and is often used to treat skin conditions like acne, sexually transmitted infections, and certain respiratory infections. Patients are often prescribed azithromycin if they are allergic to penicillin.

The combination antibiotic, amoxicillin-clavulanate potassium, was the third most prescribed antibiotic, accounting for 13.1% of prescriptions in 2022. Clavulanate potassium helps prevent certain bacteria from becoming resistant to amoxicillin. By adding this chemical, amoxicillin is able to stay active for a longer period of time in the body.

For more information about antibiotics, check out the CDC guide on antibiotic classes.

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