Dangouers Antibiotics News & Info

CDC: Half of All Prescribed Antibiotics are Unnecessary

Antibiotic Resistant Illnesses

Two million people die from antibiotic resistant illnesses each year, resulting in 23,000 deaths annually, the Centers for Disease Control reported recently.

Why is this happening? The answer isn’t simple.

Some believe pressure on doctors from patients explains some of the overprescribing. Anxious parents eager to get their child healthy again argue for their right to antibiotics. After all, if it worked once, why not prescribe it again this time?

Others say the tendency to overprescribe antibiotics stems from a lack of knowledge about what illnesses antibiotics can actually treat. There’s a notion that prescribing antibiotics can’t hurt, and that traditionally, they’ve nearly always helped sick patients. But antibiotic overprescribing is a real problem, and one that has a domino effect on patients nationwide.

Consequences of Over Prescribing Antibiotics

When antibiotics are overprescribed, they can have devastating consequences. They contribute to the rise of “superbugs” and decrease the overall effectiveness of the drug. Antibiotics can wipe out healthy bacteria and cause allergic reactions and side effects like yeast infections.

There’s no easy way to combat this issue. Raising awareness of the dangers of overprescribing antibiotics to doctors and patients alike has proven to be only somewhat effective. After all, doctors theoretically know that antibiotics can only do so much to help with minor illnesses like bronchitis or urinary tract infections.

Researchers are working to understand how best to combat this problem before it becomes a full blown epidemic. Using social pressure and psychology to prevent overprescribing is one strategy used by researchers studying the problem. One approach centered on peer pressure between doctors. The researchers sent doctors emails each month comparing their rate of prescribing antibiotics to that of their peers. This method saw an 81 percent decrease in the rate of antibiotic prescription.

However this problem is addressed, the effects are already being felt.