October 3rd, 2013
12:00 PM ET

Doctors still overprescribing antibiotics

With all the talk of "superbugs" and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, you might think prescriptions for unnecessary antibiotics is relatively infrequent, especially for conditions where these drugs rarely work.

New research from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston suggests the opposite. Dr. Michael L. Barnett, lead author, and Dr. Jeffrey A. Linder, senior author, found that prescriptions of antibiotics for sore throat and acute bronchitis are far more common than they should be.

"You have a viral infection for which the antibiotics are not going to help, and you’re putting a chemical in your body that has a very real chance of hurting you," Linder said. Side effects of antibiotics include diarrhea, vaginitis in women, interactions with other medications and more serious reactions in a small number of people.

Also concerning: When you take antibiotics, there's a chance the disease you're fighting - or other bacteria in your body - will mutate, making it more resistant to antibiotics in the future.

"People may have infections that are harder to treat down the line because we're overusing antibiotics today," Linder said.

Disturbingly, says Linder, if you have taken an antibiotic recently there is a measurable amount of antibiotic-resistant bacteria on and inside you. It's not possible to say any particular person is going to end up with an infection that's resistant to antibiotics because of taking these drugs. But science has shown that community levels of antibiotic use are related to rates of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, Linder said.

Results from two studies by Linder and Barnett were presented at IDWeek 2013, a meeting of health professionals, this week.

Sore throat

In a research letter published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, the researchers showed that while only 10% of adults with sore throat have strep, the specific condition requiring antibiotics, doctors prescribe antibiotics in 60% of sore throat cases.

The study authors used data from large nationally representative surveys of ambulatory care in the United States: The National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. The surveys are sources of information on physicians and their practices.

Linder and Barnett analyzed data from 1997 to 2010 for more than 8,000 sore throat visits, from patients who did not have injuries, immunosuppression or other infectious diagnoses at the same time. Based on this information, they determined that physicians have been prescribing antibiotics in about 60% of sore throat visits since around 2000.

They also found that prescriptions for penicillin, the choice antibiotic for strep throat treatment, held steady at 9%, while the more expensive alternative azithromycin has been prescribed more and more. In 1997 to 1998, prescriptions for azithromycin for sore throat were too uncommon to reliably measure; in 2009 to 2010 it was prescribed in 15% of visits.

There are limitations to this study, however; the researchers have no way of knowing whether individual prescriptions for antibiotics are appropriate, and the surveys only include patients seen in clinic or emergency department settings.

"The financial cost of unnecessary antibiotic prescribing to adults with sore throat in the United States from 1997-2010 was conservatively $500 million," the study noted. The cost could have actually been 40 times more expensive because of diarrhea and other side effects from antibiotics.

Acute bronchitis 

Researchers also found alarming trends regarding antibiotic overprescribing for acute bronchitis using nationally representative surveys. This study, unlike the research letter, has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal but was presented at IDWeek 2013.

Ideally, says Linder, antibiotics would almost never be prescribed for acute bronchitis because of the abundance of evidence that they do not actually help this condition.

Yet the prescribing rate of antibiotics for acute bronchitis nationally has remained steady over the past 30 years around 73%, he said.

Researchers excluded anyone who had a chronic lung disease such as asthma and emphysema from this study.

Why so many antibiotics? 

Part of the problem of overprescribing is patient demand - people ask for antibiotics because they think these drugs will make them feel better. The other side of the coin is that many doctors have been prescribing antibiotics in abundance for years and are following old habits.

"I think there’s a discussion that should be happening between patient and doctor that doesn’t happen, that automatically leads to an antibiotic prescription," Linder said.

If you have a sore throat, for instance, you can tell your doctor that you want to know if you have strep - and that if you don't have it, you don't need an antibiotic.

soundoff (732 Responses)
  1. RV Repair Near My Location


    June 17, 2021 at 01:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. bookstores near me


    June 17, 2021 at 03:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. houses for sale near me

    This excellent website certainly has all of the information I wanted about this subject and didnít know who to ask.


    June 17, 2021 at 04:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RV Repair Seal Beach

    Your style is very unique in comparison to other people I've read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this web site.


    June 17, 2021 at 06:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Sprinter Repair Costa Mesa

    I like it whenever people get together and share opinions. Great blog, keep it up!


    June 17, 2021 at 08:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Repair Near Me Now

    When I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on every time a comment is added I receive 4 emails with the exact same comment. Is there an easy method you are able to remove me from that service? Thanks a lot!


    June 17, 2021 at 09:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RV Repair Places Near Me


    June 17, 2021 at 09:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Home Page

    Hi there, I found your site via Google at the same time as looking for a similar subject, your site came up, it appears great. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.


    June 17, 2021 at 11:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Sprinter Repair Near Me

    This is a topic which is near to my heart... Take care! Exactly where are your contact details though?


    June 17, 2021 at 12:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. tractor supply near me


    June 17, 2021 at 14:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. recycling center near me


    June 17, 2021 at 15:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. starbucks near me

    This is the right website for everyone who would like to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I really will need toÖHaHa). You certainly put a brand new spin on a topic which has been discussed for years. Great stuff, just excellent!


    June 17, 2021 at 16:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. car rental near me


    June 17, 2021 at 17:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. near me


    June 17, 2021 at 19:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. rei near me


    June 17, 2021 at 21:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. auto parts store near me


    June 17, 2021 at 22:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. aldi near me

    Itís nearly impossible to find well-informed people in this particular topic, but you sound like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks


    June 17, 2021 at 22:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. us post office near me

    Having read this I believed it was extremely informative. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this information together. I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worth it!


    June 17, 2021 at 22:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. theaters near me

    Good information. Lucky me I ran across your website by chance (stumbleupon). I've bookmarked it for later!


    June 18, 2021 at 01:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. chinese restaurant near me

    Iím amazed, I must say. Rarely do I come across a blog thatís both equally educative and engaging, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that too few people are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy I stumbled across this in my hunt for something relating to this.


    June 18, 2021 at 03:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Rayqjp

    Why it's really possible to fall in love online

    Story highlightsMany couples who met online say they fell in love before they met in personThe Web enabled Notre Dame's Manti Te'o to fall for a lady who did not existProfessor: "Online tool. Enables having a link that is faster and more direct"annapolis man: Meeting online let me seek advice that I would not have asked face to face

    Jon's plane taxied to a gate at Los Angeles international airport, And although he had been flying for 30 hours on a journey from South Asia to arkansas, His heart pounded at the prospect of wrapping Katie, His fianc in order to become, in bear hug.

    during a week and half, Jon would put his grandmother's diamond ring on Katie's finger and the ring would be woefully too big. The oversight wasn't due to thoughtlessness on his part, Nor a mishap at the jewelry salesman.

    It was because Jon had never once held that hand in real life.

    Katie, 24, Is not a the latest mail order bride and Jon, 32, Is not a moneyed lonely heart. the couple, Who work as Christian missionaries and sought their last names not be published for security reasons, Met online while she was in north park and he was on a mission in South Asia.

    Two months prior to their October 2011 meeting in denver, Katie had sent Jon an e mail, hoping to join his mission group. That initial contact led to months of e mails and enquiries, pricing Katie $600 in phone bills, culminating, now, as part of the decision to meet in the flesh. Today the pair are happily married with a baby girl.

    Grey Howe counts his loving with his wife Michelle, Both within his or her late 30s, As one of the earliest examples of online dating site.

    "rrt had been 1994, So there was no Internet as you know it today, he said. "We met by means of IRC,

    IRC is the "huge web Relay Chat, A form of computer based conversation that was developed in the late 1980s. "online world Relay Chat, back then, You had to know your stuff, Howe claimed. "So if you were on IRC, You were pretty much guaranteed to be talking to the smart people. and that i lucked out; I talked to the often most successful woman,

    Grey talked with Michelle for about six months on the phone and via IRC before climbing on his motorcycle and driving from San Diego to Denver to see her in person the very first time. He suggests left. Thirteen long periods of time later, they were given married, Ironically enough for the computer inclined couple, In a 1870s Victorian themed holy day.

    Since Grey and Michelle's 1994 love connections, The prospect of online love has become progressively mainstream. A 2010 study found that nearly one quarter of heterosexual couples interviewed had met via the Web, Making the net the second most common way to find a partner after meeting through friends.

    The lost art of in the real world dating

    someone like you (Who's at all like me)

    So what makes these digital marriages successful? in a 2002 study, "Relationship Formation on the web: what's the subject matter Big Attraction, One of the key draws of Internet relationships of all kinds is being able to find people who like the same stuff that you do.

    i thought this was the case for Amanda Goldstein Marks, 35, Who met her husband to be Aaron in 1999 via Jewish dating site JDate.

    from the beginning, Amanda agreed to the site without any intention of going on dates, She only wanted to visit her cousin's pictures. But shortly afterwards putting up her profile, Sans visuals, she or he met Aaron, Who was drawn to the mention of Jewish camp on her page.

    Amanda spoken with Aaron for months, Without seeing any drawings of him, Before the couple finally met like Jon and Katie, At an airport when he returned from summer a vacation to attend college.

    "I watched him walk off the plane, And from the thinking, 'This is so weird because decades weird.' It felt like I was webinar an old friend, She said.

    A year down the track, By which point they were previously dating, The two discovered that their grandmothers had attended the same Jewish summer camp in Cleveland, iowa, A asiandate reviews strange coincidence checking into Amanda grew up in Alabama and Aaron in New Mexico.

    "summer camp] Was crucial to us, And it was important to us because it was vital to our parents, Because it was important to our grandparents, Said amanda-m, workers,who are your employees at an ad agency. "So it sorts of felt like my fate was sealed,

    While Amanda says that the two were not officially dating during the months preceding their first meeting, And although she had never witnessed a picture of Aaron, She still says their connection was deep.

    "All I knew was that he was tall and had brown hair and blue eyes, So every guy I saw who kind of fit that description, I would have a look him and I would say, 'If that had been Aaron, Would i still like him?'" Said amanda-m, Who now standard of living with Aaron in Decatur, georgia. "the answer was always yes.

    June 18, 2021 at 03:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. dumpster rental near me

    That is a really good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Simple but very accurate infoÖ Many thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!


    June 18, 2021 at 04:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. paintball near me

    May I just say what a comfort to find somebody who actually understands what they are talking about on the internet. You actually know how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you aren't more popular because you surely possess the gift.


    June 18, 2021 at 04:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. garage sales near me

    Wonderful article! We are linking to this great content on our website. Keep up the good writing.


    June 18, 2021 at 05:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. flooring near me


    June 18, 2021 at 06:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. places to eat near me


    June 18, 2021 at 06:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. salons near me

    Good day! I simply want to offer you a big thumbs up for your excellent info you have here on this post. I'll be coming back to your website for more soon.


    June 18, 2021 at 07:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. subs near me

    Hi there! This article could not be written much better! Going through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept talking about this. I'll forward this information to him. Fairly certain he's going to have a great read. Thanks for sharing!


    June 18, 2021 at 07:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. gamestop near me


    June 18, 2021 at 08:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. RV Repair Fountain Valley

    I blog often and I truly thank you for your content. Your article has truly peaked my interest. I will bookmark your website and keep checking for new information about once per week. I opted in for your Feed as well.


    June 18, 2021 at 11:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. RV Repair Shops Near Me Now

    I really like it when folks get together and share views. Great site, continue the good work!


    June 18, 2021 at 11:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. RV Repair Fountain Valley

    Right here is the perfect web site for anybody who wants to understand this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually will need toÖHaHa). You certainly put a new spin on a topic that has been written about for ages. Great stuff, just excellent!


    June 18, 2021 at 12:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. RV Repair Seal Beach

    Howdy! I just want to offer you a big thumbs up for the great information you've got here on this post. I will be coming back to your blog for more soon.


    June 18, 2021 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. amish deck builders


    June 18, 2021 at 14:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Camper Repair Places Near Me


    June 18, 2021 at 18:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RV Repairs Near My Location

    This is a topic which is close to my heart... Thank you! Where are your contact details though?


    June 18, 2021 at 19:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. RV Repair Shop Near My Location


    June 18, 2021 at 20:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. RV Repair Shops Near Me

    Howdy! I just want to give you a huge thumbs up for the great info you have got here on this post. I will be returning to your web site for more soon.


    June 18, 2021 at 20:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Nearest RV Repair

    I used to be able to find good information from your blog articles.


    June 18, 2021 at 23:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RV Repair Garden Grove

    Itís hard to come by experienced people on this subject, but you sound like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks


    June 19, 2021 at 00:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. judi blackjack

    I every time used to read post in news papers but now as I am a user of net therefore from now
    I am using net for posts, thanks to web.

    June 19, 2021 at 03:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. RV Repair Shops Near Me Now

    That is a really good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Short but very accurate infoÖ Thank you for sharing this one. A must read article!


    June 19, 2021 at 05:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. RV Repair Near Me Now


    June 19, 2021 at 07:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. RV Repairs Nearby

    I truly love your website.. Very nice colors & theme. Did you build this website yourself? Please reply back as Iím attempting to create my own website and want to learn where you got this from or just what the theme is named. Thank you!


    June 19, 2021 at 08:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Camper Repair Shop Near Me

    After I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I receive 4 emails with the same comment. Is there an easy method you can remove me from that service? Thank you!


    June 19, 2021 at 10:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. RV Repair Orange County


    June 19, 2021 at 14:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Camper Repairs Near Me


    June 19, 2021 at 20:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Content Marketing Boutique

    Your style is really unique compared to other folks I've read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this page.


    June 20, 2021 at 02:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Video Marketing Company

    Having read this I believed it was really informative. I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this informative article together. I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


    June 20, 2021 at 03:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. SEO Marketing Agency

    That is a good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Short but very accurate informationÖ Thank you for sharing this one. A must read post!


    June 20, 2021 at 03:52 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Leave a Reply to RV Repair Near Me Now


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

October 2013
  • An error has occurred, which probably means the feed is down. Try again later.