Children with sickle cell anemia (SCA) are at increased risk for invasive pneumococcal disease; antibiotic prophylaxis significantly reduces this risk. We calculated the proportion of children with SCA who received ≥300 days of antibiotic prophylaxis and identified predictors of such receipt.


Children aged 3 months to 5 years with SCA were identified by the presence of 3 or more Medicaid claims with a diagnosis of SCA within a calendar year (2005–2012) in Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, South Carolina, and Texas. Receipt of antibiotics was identified through claims for filled prescriptions. The outcome, receipt of ≥300 days of antibiotics, was assessed annually by using varying classifications of antibiotics. By using logistic regression with generalized estimating equations, we estimated the odds of receiving ≥300 days of antibiotics, with potential predictors of age, sex, year, state, and health services use.


A total of 2821 children contributed 5014 person-years. Overall, only 18% of children received ≥300 days of antibiotics. Each additional sickle cell disease-related outpatient visit (odds ratio = 1.01, 95% confidence interval: 1.01–1.02) and well-child visit (odds ratio = 1.08, 95% confidence interval: 1.02–1.13) was associated with incrementally increased odds of receiving ≥300 days of antibiotics.


Despite national recommendations and proven lifesaving benefit, antibiotic prophylaxis rates are low among children with SCA. Numerous health care encounters may offer an opportunity for intervention; in addition, such interventions likely need to include social factors that may affect the ability for a child to receive and adhere to antibiotic prophylaxis.

You do not currently have access to this content.