Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Doctors often overprescribe antibiotics for respiratory infections, Pennsylvania study finds

Date:
September 23, 2010
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
Doctors frequently misuse antibiotics when treating patients hospitalized with respiratory tract infections, according to a new study that tracked patients in two Pennsylvania hospitals.

Doctors frequently misuse antibiotics when treating patients hospitalized with respiratory tract infections (RTIs), according to a study to be published in the November issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

Related Articles


The study, which tracked patients in two Pennsylvania hospitals, found that doctors often use antibiotics to treat patients whose infections are known to be caused by viruses. The findings are alarming because antibiotics are not effective against viruses, and antibiotic overuse has been linked to the development of resistant bacterial strains.

"[T]hese data demonstrate at least one area where antibiotics are commonly used in hospitalized patients without clear reason," write the study's authors, Kevin T. Shiley, Ebbing Lautenbach and Ingi Lee, all from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "Recognition of this may be helpful in developing interventions to limit inappropriate antibiotic use in the future."

In recent years, new diagnostic tests have been developed to distinguish infections caused by viruses from those caused by bacteria. In theory, more definitive diagnoses should reduce the inappropriate use of antibiotics in patients with viral infections. But that does not appear to be happening, according to Shiley and his colleagues.

The researchers looked at data on RTI patients admitted to two hospitals over a two-year period. Of 196 patients who were diagnosed with viral infections, 125 remained on antibiotics after their diagnoses. It would be understandable to keep a patient on antibiotics if an abnormal chest x-ray suggests a concurrent bacterial infection, the researchers said. However, only 37% of these patients had abnormal chest x-rays. "It is less clear why the remaining 63% of patients with normal chest imaging were prescribed antibiotics," Shiley and his colleagues write.

No Clinical Benefit

Patients in the study who remained on antibiotics did not benefit from the treatment, the researchers found. In fact, antibiotics may have led to harm in some cases. For example, a significant number of antibiotic patients developed Clostridium difficile diarrhea, a condition linked with antibiotic use.

On average, the antibiotic group had longer hospital stays and higher mortality rates than the non-antibiotic group. While those poorer outcomes cannot be attributed directly to antibiotic treatment, they do suggest that there was no clinical benefit, the researchers say.

"This study highlights the crucial role of antimicrobial stewardship in improving patient care," said Neil O. Fishman, M.D. at the University of Pennsylvania and president of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. "Appropriate use of antibiotics is not only essential to limiting emergence of resistance, but also may help improve clinical outcomes."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kevin T. Shiley, Ebbing Lautenbach, and Ingi Lee. The Use of Antimicrobial Agents after the Diagnosis of Viral Respiratory Tract Infections in Hospitalized Adults: Antibiotics or Anxiolytics? Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, 2010; 31: 11

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Doctors often overprescribe antibiotics for respiratory infections, Pennsylvania study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100922160946.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2010, September 23). Doctors often overprescribe antibiotics for respiratory infections, Pennsylvania study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100922160946.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Doctors often overprescribe antibiotics for respiratory infections, Pennsylvania study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100922160946.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins