Have a Cold? Forget Antibiotics
If you have a cold or sore throat, don't think about asking your doctor for antibiotics.
That's the advice of the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
In an effort to reduce inappropriate use of antibiotics, they have jointly recommended that patients with common colds should not be prescribed antibiotics.
This recommendation actually is aimed at general practitioners and health care professionals who see patients with acute respiratory tract infections (ARTIs), The report's authors note that ARTIs -- such as the common cold, uncomplicated bronchitis, sore throat and sinus infection -- are the most common reason for outpatient antibiotic prescriptions for adults in the U.S.
The overprescription of antibiotics for ARTIs has been linked to the spread of antibiotic-resistant infections and the rise of so-called superbugs. The CDC estimates that every year, at least 2 million people in the U.S. become infected with -- and at least 23,000 die from -- "superbug" bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.
Data from the CDC shows that 50 percent of prescriptions filled for antibiotics in outpatient settings may be inappropriate or unnecessary. The bill for this comes to more than $3 billion.
In addition, antibiotics are the biggest cause of drug-related adverse events, and they are responsible for around 20 percent of emergency department visits for drug side effects.
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