You are here

Aren't We Smarter Than This?

I guess we aren't: despite concerted effort on the part of the CDC, state and professional educators, it seems that physicians are still over-prescribing antibiotics, and probably that many people are over-consuming them. (We know folks don't always take the drugs prescribed for them, and in this case that might be a good idea!) New research from Brigham and Women's Hospital published in the online journal JAMA Internal Medicine, reported the news on Science Daily.

The specific condition studied was sore throat. The incidence of strep (requiring antibiotics) is at most probably 10 percent, yet the national antibiotic prescribing rate is still hovering at 60 percent. Even worse: appropriate prescribing for bronchitis should be near zero but reality reveals a 73 percent of - probably Z-pack - antibiotic prescribing.

There really is no good news in this: people suffering will not be seriously helped, and worse, their overall health will be compromised by antibiotics, especially ones they don't need. And for someone down the road, who has a serious infection, they are more likely to have a bug resistant to antibiotics if it comes from a community drenched in abundant drugs.

Although the authors worry that unnecessary drugs add to the cost of medicine, I suspect the bottom line functions differently. How long would it take for a physician to discuss what is known about natural treatments for bronchitis, as described here? Answer: a lot longer than it takes to scribble a few lines, tear off an Rx for harmful antibiotics and be out the door. The over-prescribing doctor is saving time, not health, lives or - ultimately - money. 

Related Articles: