Millions of Antibiotic Prescriptions Each Year are Unnecessary, Study Finds

Are Antibiotics Over-Prescribed? When Should I Take Antibiotics?

The above headline comes from a May 3, 2016, article reported by CBS News. This article and several others on this subject were based on a new study released on May 3, 2016, in the Journal of the American Medical Association, (JAMA).

Millions of Antibiotic Prescriptions Each Year are Unnecessary, Study Finds - Austin TX Chiropractor CelebrityThe title of the JAMA study was, Prevalence of Inappropriate Antibiotic Prescriptions Among US Ambulatory Care Visits, 2010-2011.  The study begins by stating the importance of the study saying, The National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria set a goal of reducing inappropriate outpatient antibiotic use by 50% by 2020, but the extent of inappropriate outpatient antibiotic use is unknown.

According to the study, approximately one-third of all antibiotic prescriptions are inappropriate. The problem is that heavy usage of antibiotics has resulted in more antibiotic resistant bacteria, commonly referred to as superbugs. Because of the rise in antibiotic resistance, and the increased strength of the bacteria, more deaths due to these types of infections have been occurring. Estimates are that each year antibiotic-resistant bacteria infect 2 million Americans of which about 23,000 die.

Lead researcher, Dr. Katherine Fleming-Dutra, stated in a HealthDay news article,  We were able to conclude that at least 30 percent of the antibiotics that are given in doctors’ offices, emergency departments and hospital-based clinics are unnecessary, meaning that no antibiotics were needed at all.

Fleming also noted that about half of the antibiotics given for acute respiratory infections were not needed. She stated,  Nobody should be giving antibiotics for the common cold, it gets better without antibiotics.

In a companion editorial in the same issue of JAMA, Drs. Tamma and Cosgrove stated, the statement ‘If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it,’ attributed to Lord Kelvin, is of particular relevance to the field of antibiotic stewardship. Whereas the plea for optimizing how antibiotics are used in the United States has been ongoing for more than 50 years, improvement has been slow.

If you or anyone you know could benefit from a better functioning nervous system, please call us at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson.


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Older Americans Taking More Medications

What is Polypharmacy? Can Chiropractic Care Reduce My Need For Medication?

The headline above comes from a March 21, 2016, Reuters news story published in response to a pre-released study on this subject published in the April 2016 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine. This article, and several others on this same subject, reported on the growing usage of medication by the increasing elderly population.

Older Americans Taking More Medications - Austin Texas Chiropractor help for car accident injuryThe study showed that 87.7% of the population 62 to 85 years old used at least one prescription medication in 2010-2011. This was up from 84.1% in 2005-2006. Even more alarming was that the study showed that people using five or more prescription medications increased from 30.6% to 35.8% in the same five year period.

The Reuters article begins by noting that people using multiple medications, known as polypharmacy, was associated with an increase in major drug interactions in older Americans. Dr. Dima M. Qato, the study’s lead author from the University of Illinois at Chicago, commented, “That’s a concern from a public health standpoint, because it’s getting worse.”

The study showed that because of the increase in polypharmacy, the percentage of people at risk for serious or even life-threatening drug interaction has gone from 8 percent in 2005-2006 to 15 percent in 2011-2012.

Dr. Qato also stated in a CBS interview on this issue, “Many of these potentially deadly drug interactions involve prescription and non-prescription medications and supplements that are not commonly used, but are increasingly being used by older adults. While it is not known how many older adults in the U.S. die of drug interactions, the risk seems to be growing and public awareness is lacking.”

“It is time to take the next leap forward. We need to create systems that support an ongoing process of monitoring medications,” said Michael A. Steinman, M.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, in an accompanying editorial. “Such systems would help us periodically assess the benefits, harms and ongoing need for each of a patient’s medications, as well as the reasonableness of the medication regimen as a whole. These systems could also help physicians with deprescribing, for example by supporting gradual down-titration of a medication and monitoring patients for adverse drug withdrawal reactions after a drug is stopped.”

“As much as we need to support reforms in medication monitoring, we seriously need to examine the culture of taking so many medications,” says Robert Braile D.C. chairman of the International Chiropractors Association Public Relations Committee. “Americans represent about 5% of the world’s population, yet we consume about 50% of the prescription medication in the world. This, coupled with the fact that the U.S. ranks far below many other nations in almost all health statistics except spending, should lead us to question whether or not the culture of a pill for every ill is a healthy and prudent direction.”

If you or anyone you know could benefit from a better functioning nervous system, please call us at 512-452-2525 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Swanson.


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