Too Many Antibiotic Prescriptions Without Diagnosis

The good news about antibiotic drugs is that most bacterial infections can be easily treated due to the wide availability of various different drugs. However, as is well known, the drugs are still prescribed in cases that do not require antibiotics at all and this poses an ongoing danger to all.

Necessary and Unnecessary

Often, conditions do indeed need to be treated with antibiotics and that is clear. When bacterial infection is the issue, it is the only way to stop infections and to save lives. This is fine and exactly what the drugs are made for in the first place but prescribed too often, bacteria become resistant.

All too often, antibiotics are prescribed with no clear indication of a bacterial infection and this is the problem. According to a recent study, nearly half of the antibiotics that were prescribed in clinics were dispensed without a real diagnosis.

The Study

This study looked at just over 500,000 prescriptions for antibiotics in 514 different outpatient clinics. The results showed that nearly half of the prescriptions were given with no diagnosis of infection. One out of five of these prescriptions were given without a person actually visiting the clinic.

According to previous studies, the overly frequent prescriptions were given related to particular symptoms like sore throats and cough and no clear diagnosis. These are symptoms of viruses and not at all indications for the use of antibiotics. The drugs should not have been prescribed in these instances.

Requests and Dangers

Though it is clear that antibiotics have no effect on viral infections whatsoever and that most coughs and sinus infections are not relieved by antibiotics, patients still call in and insist on an antibiotic prescription. Basically, they want it because they are convinced it will make them feel better.

This means that when these people take these drugs, they are literally training various bacteria to be resistant to those drugs. They are, in effect, creating super diseases and creating them in themselves which makes them breeding grounds for these dangerous bacteria.

A Major Problem

The study shows that nearly half of all the antibiotic prescriptions were made with either bad reasons or no reasons at all. Since 80% of all antibiotic prescriptions are given on an outpatient basis, this is a major problem that needs to be addressed.

This study looked at 509,534 antibiotic prescriptions given on an outpatient basis to 279,196 patients. The period of time analyzed by the study was between November of 2015 and October of 2017. An overwhelming 46% of these were given without any diagnosis. 29% were given by diagnosis of an issue unrelated to infection such as high blood pressure.

To make matters worse, 20% of these were prescribed without the patient actually visiting and done over the phone. The antibiotics are being prescribed for patients “just not feeling well” in an effort to get them feeling better.

It is clear that this is just shy of giving the antibiotic prescriptions away without reason and this is apparently a growing problem.

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