A new study by Johns Hopkins Medicine has found that one in five patients suffers side effects while taking antibiotics and several of those patients did not need the antibiotics they were prescribed.
For the study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers analyzed data for 1,500 adult patients admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital. They noted that in roughly 20 percent of the cases, patients experienced one or more side effects from the antibiotics they were given.
Additionally, the risks of suffering side effects continued to increase by 3 percent with each additional 10 days the patient was on the drug.
Among the most common side effects noted were gastrointestinal problems, kidney abnormalities, and blood-related adverse events.
According to researchers, the study adds to other evidence suggesting that doctors may be prescribing antibiotics to readily.
Pranita Tamma, an assistant professor of pediatrics at John Hopkins, says, “Too often, clinicians prescribe antibiotics even if they have a low suspicion for a bacterial infection, thinking that even if antibiotics may not be necessary, they are probably not harmful. But that is not always the case.”
In additionally, patients should ask their doctors about potential side effects and how to recognize them.