Nearly one-third of Americans prescribed antibiotics during doctor’s office visits probably should not have received the drugs, were not given a long enough course or did not get the right dose, according to new research.
The new study into how doctors prescribe antibiotics to Americans in outpatient settings comes as rates of antibiotic resistant bacterial infections are on the rise. Up to 23,000 Americans die and 2 million more become sick due to antibiotic resistant bacteria each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and scientists have found rates of such infections on the rise.
“This study shows that there certainly is a lot more work to be done,” said Dr Katherine E Fleming-Dutra, a CDC researcher and lead author on the study. “It is so critical to preserve antibiotics for the future, to make sure they work.”
The study of 184,032 visits, titled Prevalence of Antibiotic Prescriptions Among US Ambulatory Care Visits, 2010-2011 and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, comes as a White House panel of experts convened to work on the issue push doctors to halve the prescribing of antibiotics in such settings by 2020.