Antibiotics: Too Much of a Good Thing

Antibiotics may be overprescribed, which could lead to antibiotic resistance

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Anyssa Garza, PharmD

(RxWiki News) Many antibiotic prescriptions in the United States in recent years may not have been appropriate, a recent study found.

Why does that matter? It could contribute to antibiotic-resistant infections, according to the authors of this study, which was published in JAMA.

Antibiotics are prescribed to fight bacterial infections, such as those associated with sinusitis and some types of sore throat, as well as more serious acute respiratory infections.

They can and do save lives, but over time, bacteria can build up resistance to them, meaning the antibiotics aren't as effective as they once were. That's why prescribing antibiotics when they're not necessary can be a bad thing.

In the current study, these researchers found that around 30 percent of oral antibiotic prescriptions in 2010-11 might have been inappropriate. To reach that conclusion, these researchers sampled 184,032 doctor visits. Around 13 percent of those visits resulted in an antibiotic prescription.

Information on funding sources and conflicts of interest was not available at the time of publication.

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Review Date: 
May 7, 2016
Last Updated:
May 9, 2016