Posted on Monday, May 9th, 2016 at 4:15 am    

In 2013, USA Today ran a story about a study that showed antibiotics were being overused. At that time, doctors in the United States were prescribing enough antibiotics to give them to four out of five American each year. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) conducted a study analyzed a national prescriptions database for 2010 and found that doctors prescribed 258 million courses of antibiotics.

In 2010, doctors wrote an average of approximately 833 prescriptions for every 1,000 people. However, in Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia, the average was higher with 1,200 prescriptions for every 1,000 people. California, Alaska, and Oregon was much lower with only 600 prescriptions for every 1,000 people.  According to Dr. Lauri Hicks of the CDC, “some of the prescribing may not be warranted.”

The Antibiotics Problem Continues

new study shows that the problem with over-prescribing antibiotics continues. According to a new study by the CDC, thirty percent of antibiotics prescribed to patients are not needed and the CDC is warning doctors to cut back on unnecessary prescriptions. As with the previous study, many of the antibiotics prescribed are for bronchitis, respiratory infections, middle-ear infections, and the flu. However, nearly half of these prescriptions are unnecessary because the conditions are caused by a virus and antibiotics are only effective to treat a bacterial infection.

Conditions that may warrant a prescription for an antibiotic include:

  • Strep throat
  • An ear infection accompanied by a fever of 102.2 or higher, pain that last for more than two days, a bulging ear drum, and/or the presence of puss
  • Extended sinus infection lasting for 10 or more days
  • Bacterial pneumonia
  • Bronchitis accompanied by pneumonia
  • All bacterial infections

One way you can protect yourself is to be an informed patient. Before accepting a prescription for an antibiotic, ask your doctor why he feels an antibiotic is needed and if a test could reveal whether the condition is bacterial or viral. If you believe your doctor is overprescribing antibiotics, seek a second opinion.

The Rise of Superbugs

One of the most serious issues with overprescribing antibiotics is the rise of superbugs. Superbugs are dangerous infections that are resistant to antibiotics. One source estimates that 2.25 million people are sickened each year by the misuse or overuse of antibiotics and 37,000 people are killed. The World Health Organization and the European Union claim the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria is one of the world’s most serious heath crises.

Have You Been Harmed By A Medical Professional?

Medical malpractice is a complex legal area. While every bad result does not equal medical malpractice, there are some instances where a medical provider is at fault for harm to a patient. If you believe you or a family member has been the victim of medical malpractice, contact the Tiemann Law Firm for a free consultation by calling (916) 999-9000 or chat with a representative on our website.

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