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article imageUnnecessary antibiotics still prescribed for colds

By Tim Sandle     May 23, 2017 in Health
Toronto - There has been plenty of publicity about prescribing antibiotics for viral infections, yet the problem continues within the medical community, according to a study of U.S. health sector practices. The problem connects with the antibiotic resistance issue.
Antibiotic and antimicrobial resistance is an issue of medical and social concern. In the last two decades, the speed at which bacteria are becoming resistant to current antimicrobial medicines has significantly increased. This trend is curtailing the ability of medical staff to carry out routine operations or to treat those with infections. Often bacteria are not simply resistant to one antibiotic but to several (the so-called ‘super bugs’). A prominent example is MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).
One of the factors that has fueled the resistance problem is with prescribing by doctors. Sometimes over-prescribing has taken place and sometimes mis-prescribing occurs. With the latter, antibiotics are given for where there is no need or for diseases against which the antibiotic has no effect (antibiotics will only be effective against certain bacteria and not viruses).
It also stands that antibiotics used to treat a variety of common bacterial infections are becoming more difficult to access, mostly because the drugs are less profitable for manufacturers to produce and market, according to an assessment made by the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. This makes the correct prescribing of such medicines more pressing.
Although the message has sunk in with many medics poor practices continue. This has been highlighted from a review of medical centers in Ontario. A recent study has shown that close to one in two seniors in Ontario received an unnecessary antibiotic prescription for a viral infection. This is based on data collated by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences Western site in London, Ontario and Lawson Health Research Institute.
The research reviewed 185,014 low-risk Ontarian seniors (each aged 65 years or older). The seniors visited 8,990 primary-care physicians and each had a nonbacterial upper respiratory infection (mostly a common cold). Those prescribed antibiotics for the viral infections equaled 46 percent. These were mostly broad-spectrum antibiotics.
Commenting on the findings, Dr. Marcus Povitz, who coordinated the study, told Drug Store News the concerns: “Unnecessary antibiotic use, such as antibiotic use for viral infections, is a major public health concern associated with avoidable adverse drug events, increased healthcare costs, and the emergence of antibiotic-resistant infections.” The researcher has called for a re-review of prescribing guidelines.
The research into the poor prescribing of antibiotics has been published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. The research is titled “Antibiotic Prescribing for Nonbacterial Acute Upper Respiratory Infections in Elderly Persons.”
More about Antibiotics, antimicrobials, Infection, Bacteria, Virus
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