CDC Study: 30 Percent of Antibiotic Prescriptions are Unnecessary
The antibiotics often prescribed for viral infections have no effect on a patient's illness
Did your healthcare provider write you a prescription for antibiotics recently? There's a decent chance they weren't necessary.
According to a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 30 percent of antibiotics prescribed in the U.S. are unnecessary. Most of these unnecessary antibiotics were prescribed for respiratory conditions that are caused by viruses.
If we harken back to elementary school biology, we remember that antibiotics are meant to treat bacteria and have no effect on viruses. To treat viral infections, we're given a vaccine to prevent future infection or an antiviral to treat current infection.
Viral respiratory conditions like common colds, viral sore throats, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections don't respond to antibiotics, but doctors are prescribing them anyway.
The CDC says that these 47 million excess prescriptions put patients at risk for allergic reactions or deadly diarrhea, clostridium difficile.
Additionally, overuse of antibiotics leads to antibiotic resistance, which will make treating future infections more difficult.
"Antibiotics are lifesaving drugs, and if we continue down the road of inappropriate use we'll lose the most powerful tool we have to fight life-threatening infections," CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a written statement. "Losing these antibiotics would undermine our ability to treat patients with deadly infections, cancer, provide organ transplants, and save victims of burns and trauma."
The National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (CARB) is looking to cut the number of these unnecessary prescriptions in half by 2020.
Data analysis found that of the estimated 154 million antibiotic prescriptions written in doctor's offices and emergency departments 30 percent are unnecessary and 44 percent of outpatient prescriptions are written to treat patients with acute respiratory conditions. About half of those outpatient prescriptions are considered unnecessary.
To bring these numbers down, healthcare professionals can evaluate their prescribing habits and add watchful waiting or delayed prescribing, when appropriate. Patients should also talk to their providers about when antibiotics are needed and when they are not. These conversations should include risk for infections by antibiotic resistant bacteria.
For more information about antibiotics, visit the CDC website.
Grapefruit Can Cause Serious Problems With Certain Types of Medication
While it can be part of a balanced and nutritious diet, grapefruit can have serious consequences when taken with certain medications. Currently, there are more than fifty prescription and over-the-counter drugs known to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that can have negative interactions with this fruit.
Here's How You Can Protect Yourself From Over-The-Counter Drug Tampering
U.S. nonprescription, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are among the most safely packaged consumer products in the world. Most of these OTC products, by law, are sealed in tamper-evident packaging for your protection. Unfortunately there is no such thing as a 100-percent tamper-proof package.
Helpful Consumer Tips: How to Purchase, Prep and Eat Fresh Produce
Since fresh produce is often grown in uncontrolled environments, there is always a chance of contamination. Fruits and vegetables can come into contact with harmful bacteria in soil or water, or it could become tainted during the harvesting or storage process. Ingesting contaminated produce can lead to many foodborne illnesses. Follow these recommendations to ensure you're protecting yourself and your family.
Is Your Healthcare Provider Out of Your Insurer's Network? Here's What to Do.
You see a doctor in the belief that he or she is in your insurer's network, only to find out afterward that the doctor was out-of-network when you get a huge bill. Don't give up! As frustrating as insurance can be, it's a necessary evil, and there are steps you can take to make sure that you spend as little as possible even when your doctor is out-of-network.