Still Too Many Antibiotic Prescriptions Being Written

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Still Too Many Antibiotic Prescriptions Being Written
Still Too Many Antibiotic Prescriptions Being Written

TUESDAY, May 3, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly one-third of the antibiotics prescribed in the United States aren't appropriate for the conditions being treated, according to research published in the May 3 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Katherine Fleming-Dutra, M.D., pediatrician and epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed 184,032 outpatient visits reported in a 2010-2011 national medical care survey. Of those sampled visits, 12.6 percent resulted in antibiotic prescriptions.

Collectively, acute respiratory conditions led to 221 antibiotic prescriptions annually for every 1,000 people, but only 111 prescriptions were deemed appropriate for these conditions, the researchers found. Among all conditions, an estimated 506 antibiotic prescriptions were written annually for every 1,000 people. Of these, 353 prescriptions were estimated to be appropriate.

Many of these misused antibiotics are likely prescribed due to misunderstanding between doctors and patients, according to Sara Cosgrove, M.D., an associate professor of infectious disease and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, who wrote an editorial that accompanied the study. "Really, when patients ask for an antibiotic, to some degree they may be asking, 'Please give me something that will make me feel better,'" Cosgrove told HealthDay. "If we know that an antibiotic is really not likely to make people feel better, we still can provide alternatives for symptom relief that will help people feel better. We need to redirect our thinking a little bit on both sides."

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