Starting off the news items this week, I take a look at a study on antibiotic prescribing rates over the last 14 years. Even with a long term effort to reform antibiotic prescribing habits among physicians and nurse practitioners, reductions in use of antibiotics is still not meeting goals and reductions are tiny, if present at all. This is continuing the increased prevalence of drug resistant bacterial strains and their increase in certain situations.

Sore Throats and No Strep

Sore-Throat-child-boyThe study shows that although only 10% of adult sore throat cases are indeed strep infections, almost 60% of them are prescribed with antibiotics. For cases of bronchitis, with a near zero rate of bacterial cause, prescribing rates were over 70%. In addition to increased prescriptions, the prescriptions that are written are more likely to be the more expensive azithromycin rather than penicillin.

The study clearly shows that prescribers are not getting the message or fail to heed the warnings about over-prescribing and are not taking the time to educate their patients appropriately about what is going on with their acute respiratory illnesses which are most likely viruses that will resolve on their own. I urge you to be part of the solution and not the problem and talk about how antibiotics are often ineffective and only seem to be working because the viral infection resolves within a few days of the office visit anyway.

Take a look at this study and make sure you understand how this is affecting the rates of drug resistant strains of bacteria and increases in truly dangerous illness in our communities.

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Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis Challenges and Episode 266.

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