U.S. Doctors Are STILL Over-Prescribing Antibiotics

1 in 4 US antibiotics may be wrongly prescribed

| Jan 16, 2019, Catharine Paddock PhD 

| Medical News Today – A recent analysis provides more evidence that inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics is common in the United States.

Researchers from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA, and Northwestern University in Chicago, IL, analyzed prescription data on 19.2 million people.

The data came from the records of privately-insured U.S. children and adults under the age of 65 years who claimed for outpatient antibiotic prescriptions during 2016.

The analysis revealed that 23.2 percent of that year’s antibiotic prescription fills were for “inappropriate” use of these medications.

The three conditions that most commonly led to inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics were colds, coughs, and chest infections.

A full account of the findings now features in the BMJ.

Antibiotics and antibiotic resistance

Antibiotics are drugs that kill bacteria. They do not work against viruses.

Taking antibiotics to treat a viral infection, such as a cold or flu, is an example of inappropriate use.

Inappropriate prescribing and use of antibiotics contributes to antibiotic resistance, which is the ability of bacteria to survive drugs that once used to kill them.

Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem and an urgent threat to public health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year in the U.S., around 2 million people acquire antibiotic-resistant infections, and more than 23,000 people die because of them.

The scheme gives a measure of appropriateness for each prescription fill for antibiotics based on the diagnosis code that medical coders assign to the insurance claim during the billing process.

‘Simple modification’ could help antibiotics overcome resistance

A simple chemical modification to vancomycin led to a fivefold increase in its power against an infectious bacterium.

The diagnostic coding system that the scheme uses is the ICD-10-CM, which has nearly 100,000 codes. Read more.