Reuters news agency is reporting on a new study that pediatricians in the United States write more than 10 million unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions every year, contributing to potentially dangerous drug resistance. The researchers looked at almost 65,000 outpatient visits by children under 18 during 2006 to 2008 and reported their findings in the journal Pediatrics.
Most of the antibiotics were dispensed for things such as sinus infections and pneumonia. While some were warranted as the infections were caused by bacteria, almost one in four were for conditions that “probably or definitely do not call for antibiotics,” such as bronchitis, the flu, asthma and allergies.
The researchers found that sometimes a pediatrician just isn’t sure about about a diagnosis, especially in the case of ear infections, but prescribes antibiotics to be on the safe side.
I remember when my kids were little that I was always happier to get the medicine, thinking it would make my kids feel better, but myabe we parents and our kids’ doctors should follow the advice of the study’s leader, Adam Hersh of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City:”If the diagnosis is still a little unclear, ask if it would be safe to wait a day or two with close follow up rather than starting the antibiotic right away.”
Here’s a link to the whole story. What do you think?