CDC recommendations for Antibiotic Prescribing and Use
2016 statistics show in USA healthcare providers prescribed 270.2 million antibiotic prescriptions—equivalent to 836 antibiotic prescriptions per 1000 persons. Was that really necessary?
Here are seven facts you should know to Be Antibiotics Aware:
- Antibiotics save lives. When a patient needs antibiotics, the benefits outweigh the risks of side effects or antibiotic resistance.
- Antibiotics aren’t always the answer. Everyone can help improve antibiotic prescribing or use.
- Antibiotics do not work on viruses, such as colds and flu, or runny noses, even if the mucus is thick, yellow or green.
- Antibiotics are only needed for treating certain infections caused by bacteria. Antibiotics also won’t help some common bacterial infections including most cases of bronchitis, many sinus infections, and some ear infections.
- An antibiotic will not make patient feel better if they have a virus. Respiratory viruses usually go away in a week or two without treatment.
- Taking antibiotics creates resistant bacteria. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them.
- Antibiotics should be taken exactly as prescribed. Patients should talk with their doctor if they have any questions about your antibiotics, or if they develop any side effects, especially diarrhea, since that could be a difficile (c. diff) infection which needs to be treated right away.
CDC created a table with summary recommendations for appropriate antibiotic prescribing for adults. The table also includes over-the-counter medication for symptoms relief. Although these medications have a low incidence of minor adverse effects, providers and patients should estimate the potential benefit and harm before using them.
Check the full table here