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Study shows 1 in 3 people unnecessarily prescribed antibiotics

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by: Jim Spiewak, WHBQ

A new report out by the Pew Charitable Research Fund and the Centers for Disease Control shows one in three people in 2015 were unnecessarily prescribed an antibiotic.

The second part of that report shows only half of patients, for three common infections, are getting the right kind of drug.

The study found 47 million prescriptions were given unnecessarily and the study’s authors claim millions aren’t getting the correct antibiotic.

David Hyun is a senior officer with the Pew Trust and says, “There’s a lot of overuse of what we call broad-spectrum antibiotics, and those attack a large number of bacteria.”

The new medical data surveyed by Pew and the CDC centers around prescriptions given for middle ear infections, sinus infections and throat infections.

Experts say these patients should ask their doctor about “first line” antibiotics.  Hyun, also a study author, says, “So as you can imagine, if you use broader spectrum antibiotics you’re raising the risk of antibiotic resistance development for a large number of bacteria.”

Across the country, by far the most are going to young kids aged 0-2.

“The patient has a very important role in this and be the main driver of discussion in the doctor’s office and it’s important for patients to ask the right questions,” Hyun says.

The study’s authors admit there is no “one size fits all” fix to the problem.

Here’s a list of questions and tips Hyun recommends the next time you go to the doctor for an antibiotic.

1.     Does my condition need an antibiotic?

2.     What is the difference between broad line and first line antibiotics?

3.     Can my infection be treated with a first line antibiotic?

4.     The patient must be the driver behind the discussion over what antibiotics they are getting prescribed.

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