January 20, 2019
Antibiotic Overuse on the Rise
Wellness Tip

Antibiotic Overuse on the Rise

by Berkeley Wellness  

About one-third of antibiotic prescrip­tions in the U.S. are unnecessary and inap­propriate, according to estimates from a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

CDC researchers looked at a repre­sentative sampling of 184,000 outpatient medi­cal visits from 2010 and 2011. For every 1,000 people, about 500 prescriptions for antibiotics were written annually, of which only 350 were considered appropriate for the conditions listed, based on medical guidelines.

The lead­ing diagnoses for which antibiotics were pre­scribed were acute respiratory conditions (such as sinusitis, ear infections, colds, flu, bronchitis, and allergies). Overuse of antibiotics increases the development of drug-resistant bacteria and causes unnecessary side effects.

In many other countries, antibiotics are prescribed more judiciously. For instance, in Sweden about 330 courses of antibiotics are dispensed per 1,000 people annually, according to a study cited in the JAMA study, resulting in very low rates of antibiotic resistance.

Also see Are Antibiotics Making Us Fat?