Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Doctors defy CDC, prescribe antibiotics for acute bronchitis

Did you know that over the last 40 years, there has been extensive evidence that shows no antibiotic prescription should be ordered when a patient has acute bronchitis? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been stressing this point for at least the past 15 years, and yet a new study has found that relatively few doctors follow such a protocol.

The study was published in a medical journal recently, and it looked at medical records from 1996 to 2010 that dealt with acute bronchitis. They found more than 3,000 patients whose sole medical complaint was acute bronchitis, and 71 percent of these patients were prescribed some form of antibiotic to deal with their condition.

What may be most alarming about the study -- even more alarming than the fact that 71 percent of patients are getting antibiotics for acute bronchitis when the rate should be 0 percent -- is that the prescription of extended macrolides, a type of antibiotic, for acute bronchitis increased dramatically during the 15-year study period.

In 1996, prescriptions of extended macrolides sat at a 25 percent rate from 1996 to 1998. But from 2008 to 2010, the extended macrolide prescription rate hit 41 percent. Even with the CDC's push to eliminate antibiotic prescriptions for acute bronchitis users, these antibiotics became even more prevalent in the medical world.

There are so many issues here. The fact that doctors are doing something in defiance of logic; the fact that patients are having to pay for something they don't need; the fact that this practice by doctors is fueling the superbug generation, where infections will no longer be able to be treated with antibiotics. There is cause for alarm with this study, and hopefully things change soon.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Way too many doctors are prescribing antibiotics in error, study says," Karen Kaplan, May 20, 2014

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