Demanding an antibiotic from your doctor every time you feel sick isn’t doing anyone any good. University of Michigan researchers studied insurance records of more than 19 million children and adults under age 65. They found that more than 23% of prescriptions given were inappropriate, or not medically justified. The inappropriately prescribed antibiotics were mostly for colds, chest infections, and coughs. About 36% of the prescriptions might have been appropriate, but unnecessary because they were given for conditions like sinusitis and sore throats, which can be viral. Most of the inappropriate prescriptions came from doctor offices, urgent care centers, and emergency rooms.
Lead researcher Dr. Kao-Ping Chua says, “Antibiotic prescribing is a major driver of the development of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. Given this, it is urgent for providers to eliminate inappropriate antibiotic prescribing, both for the sake of their own patients and for society more broadly.”