U.S. Doctors Continue Prescribing Unnecessary Drugs, Survey Says

Do Antibiotics Treat Viruses? What is a Superbug?

The headline above comes from a December 5, 2016, United Press International story reporting on the results of a survey of doctors. The survey, conducted by the American College of Physicians, asked 5000 of their members to identify two drug treatments frequently used by internists that were unlikely to provide high value care to patients.

U.S. Doctors Continue Prescribing Unnecessary Drugs, Survey Says-Austin_TX_Chiropractor_for_Chiropractic_Health_Natural_Spine_Back_BestIn spite of the fact that the doctors knew that the drug treatments they were prescribing were of no value or little value, 27% said that they administered antibiotics even though they knew the drugs would not be effective. The most common scenario described was for upper respiratory illnesses that are mostly caused by viruses. Viruses are not affected by antibiotics making the use of those drugs totally worthless in those situations.

Other scenarios revealed by the survey showed that 9% of the aggressive treatments for terminally ill patients were of “questionable value.” Additionally, 7% of medications for chronic pain were determined to be of little value according to the survey of doctors who gave out these drugs.

Dr. Amir Qaseem, vice president of clinical policy for the American College of Physicians (ACP) and chair of the ACP’s High Value Care Task Force, commented, “There is a lot of waste in our health care system, and we need to acknowledge that.”

The overuse of antibiotics has contributed to the increase of deadly superbug bacteria that are resistant to antibiotic treatments. The UPI article reports that according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States alone, more than 2 million people a year are infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. Even worse is that at least 23,000 of these people die each year as a direct result of these untreatable infections.

The CDC estimated that half of all antibiotics given to patients are not necessary. This translates into approximately 47 million unnecessary prescriptions for antibiotics in the U.S. each year.

Dr. Qaseem tried to explain why some doctors are adding to this situation by saying, “If a patient shows up in a physician’s practice and they have an upper respiratory tract infection, it is most often viral and will resolve itself in a few days,” Qaseem said. “You tell the patient to go home, rest, and it will be OK, but generally the expectation of a patient is that you will do something more than that.”

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. We are located in north central Austin, TX.


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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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