More on proper antibiotic use

Another installment to reinforce one of the central themes of my approach to caring for your child and to this blog.  Treat what needs to be treated–something that has some adverse effect on your child’s well being and will not resolve on its own in some reasonable time frame.  Employ only treatments that are demonstrably effective by scientific, statistically accurate studies.

I have discussed antibiotics and this principal previously.  This link to that posting includes summaries of appropriate antibiotic use which I encourage you to review.  Please recall that antibiotics do not specifically treat fever (even higher or more prolonged), “swollen glands,” cough, dark nasal discharge, or red/pus covered throat and tonsils.

A review published in “Morbiditiy and Mortality Weekly”(MMWR) from August 2015 noted these very important trends in antibiotic usage.  We should all keep these points in mind when considering treatment with antibiotics.  I promise that I will:

  1. Resistent infections occur in 2 million people in the US yearly causing 23,000 deaths
  2. 142,000 ER visits yearly for adverse drug reactions to antibiotics; 4/5 are allergic reactions
  3. 1/2 of antibiotic prescriptions for children and 1/4 for adults are not indicated
  4. URI (common cold) is the most common diagnosis for #3 above
  5. Antibiotics innappropriately prescribed for bronchitis 71% of the time (not recommended, mostly caused by viruses)
  6. 60% of adults with pharyngitis prescribed antibiotics but only 5-10% of these infections are caused by strep
  7. 10% decrease in use of outpatient antibiotics prescription would cause 16% drop in potentially life threatening C. dificile intestinal infection, 30% drop would cause 26% drop in those infections
  8. Reducing antibiotic prescription does not increase community mortality rates
  9. In 2009 US spent $10.7 billion on antibiotics (note how much of that money was “wasted” from #3, 5, 6 above)
  10. Annual cost of antibiotic resistance to US economy is $20 billion with additional $35 billion in lost productivity

Please send along questions or comments and thanks for following

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