25% of Antibiotic Prescriptions Are Unnecessary. Here’s Why That’s So Dangerous

25% of Antibiotic Prescriptions Are Unnecessary. Here’s Why That’s So Dangerous (time.com)

[Time, 1/16/19]  The overuse of antibiotics is a growing problem. When used too frequently or inappropriately, the drugs can become ineffective for conditions they could normally treat since bacteria can develop resistance to them. As more bacteria are becoming resistant to all available antibiotics, there will be fewer, and sometimes not any, antibiotic options for people who might truly need them to control life-threatening infections.

Now, a new study published in the BMJ puts some hard numbers on just how often they’re overprescribed. Nearly 25% of the time, antibiotics are inappropriately prescribed, the study finds.

The study authors started by categorizing the more than 90,000 medical conditions in the standard diagnosis coding scheme, which doctors use to classify medication conditions for billing, into three categories: whether antibiotics are always, sometimes or never justified in the treatment of that condition. They then analyzed more than 15 million prescriptions for antibiotics filled by more than 19 million people in 2016 who filed claims for reimbursement through private insurance plans. They looked back three days before the prescription was filled to determine why the antibiotics might have been needed, and classified each prescription as appropriate if the conditions found always justified antibiotics, potentially appropriate if the conditions sometimes justified the drugs, and inappropriate if the condition never justified antibiotics…………….

Read the Full Article at: Time

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