Antibiotics Are Over Prescribed- CDC Report
A recent report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that many hospitals tend to over prescribe antibiotics.
About the CDC Antibiotic Report
The report also showed that out of the 323 hospitals studied in 2010 and 183 hospitals studied in 2011, certain hospitals were three times more likely to prescribe antibiotics than other medications.
Furthermore, one third of prescriptions for vancomycin, a common antibiotic, are either prescribed without adequate testing or for too long.
The over-prescribing of antibiotics has increased partly due to patients specifically requesting for antibiotics.
A separate report by the American Medical Association Internal Medicine also revealed that doctors often prescribe antibiotics even before the presence of some sort of bacterial infection is present in their patients.
Patients that take antibiotics when they are not necessary are usually susceptible to developing serious side effects which can develop into infections that are resistant to antibiotics.
Questions to Ask about Antibiotics
Doctors say that patients can protect themselves from overusing antibiotics by asking certain questions.
How do you know I need them?
- According to Scott Flanders, professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School and the lead author of the Journal of the American Medical Association article, patients can ask their doctors whether the presence of bacteria was detected in their tests, upon being prescribed antibiotics.
- If the presence of bacteria has not been confirmed, they are advised to ask when and how they can access their results at a future date.
What are the side effects?
- As certain side effects of antibiotics are uncomfortable, and can sometimes lead to deadly bacterial infections. Flanders advises asking the doctor for a milder medication in place of antibiotics.
- Patients may also ask their doctors for tips to reducing the side effects of antibiotics if an alternate medication is not an option
How long do I need to be on them?
- Although in the past doctors suggested finishing a course of antibiotics even after the patient started feeling better, opinions are changing in the present day.
- According to Pranita Tamma, director of the Pediatric Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, the longer an individual takes antibiotics, the greater their risk of developing a serious bacterial infection in the future. Patients should hence discuss with their doctors the option of stopping medication when they begin to feel better.
- They can also schedule follow-ups within two or three days of starting the treatment to help decide when and if they should either stop taking the medication, or whether they should begin taking smaller doses.