Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Antibiotics don't prevent complications of kids' respiratory infections

Date:
February 18, 2014
Source:
Health Behavior News Service
Summary:
Antibiotics are often prescribed for young children who have upper respiratory tract infections, however, a new evidence review found no evidence to support this practice. The researchers explained that children's immature immune systems leave them vulnerable to many infections. URIs, which are mostly caused by viruses and typically run their course in 2-14 days, usually manifest themselves as coughs, but may also be accompanied by infections of the ears, sinuses or lungs. With this in mind, the researchers suggest that there is no evidence to support the use of antibiotics to prevent bacterial complications from most upper respiratory infections.

Antibiotics are often prescribed for young children who have upper respiratory tract infections (URIs) in order to prevent complications, such as ear infections and pneumonia, however, a new evidence review in The Cochrane Library found no evidence to support this practice.

Lead author Márcia G. Alves Galvão, Ph.D., of the Municipal Secretariat of Health in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and her team explained that children's immature immune systems leave them vulnerable to many infections. URIs, which are mostly caused by viruses and typically run their course in 2-14 days, usually manifest themselves as coughs, but may also be accompanied by infections of the ears, sinuses or lungs, especially in low-income countries.

URIs are the most common reason that parents take young children to the doctor and lead to massive direct costs, high indirect costs including work absenteeism among parents, and even mortality, especially in disadvantaged groups, say the authors.

In high-income countries, the authors noted, these pediatric illnesses "are responsible for 75 percent of the total amount of prescribed antibiotics." Physicians prescribe antibiotics in hopes of preventing bacterial complications despite growing concerns about the drugs' misuse and mounting problems with resistance.

The authors reviewed four studies involving 1,314 children up to five years of age. The studies addressed the use of antibiotics to prevent two types of bacterial complications of URIs, ear infections (3 studies) and pneumonia (1 study). Although serious bacterial complications of URIs are rare, they are sometimes dangerous or fatal, and again such complications are more common in low income countries, the authors noted.

"This study shows that the evidence just isn't there to support using antibiotics in children with these infections to prevent complications," said Christian Coles, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of international health at the Johns Hopkins Blumberg School of Public Health. "Inappropriate use of antibiotics increases the risk of microbial resistance and wastes money," he said.

Coles sympathized with parents who care for crying, uncomfortable children and who often miss work to do so. Generally, he said, parents pressure physicians to prescribe antibiotics for children with URIs, not to prevent complications but hoping to shorten the illness. And while the authors indicated that most URIs are viral, and thus not amenable to treatment with antibiotics, a minority of the illnesses actually are bacterial and might respond to the drugs, he said. When physicians prescribe antibiotics for these URIs, though, they seldom know the cause of the infection. "Many viruses and bacteria cause the same symptoms. It's very tricky to figure out [the root causes]," said Coles.

"Both parents and clinicians have to be trained to avoid overuse and inappropriate use [of antibiotics]," Coles said. This will help ensure that the medications will continue to work when they are really needed.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Health Behavior News Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Márcia G Alves Galvão, Marilene Augusta Rocha Crispino Santos, Antonio JL Alves da Cunha. Antibiotics for preventing suppurative complications from undifferentiated acute respiratory infections in children under five years of age. The Cochrane Library, February 2014 DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007880.pub2

Cite This Page:

Health Behavior News Service. "Antibiotics don't prevent complications of kids' respiratory infections." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140218153724.htm>.
Health Behavior News Service. (2014, February 18). Antibiotics don't prevent complications of kids' respiratory infections. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140218153724.htm
Health Behavior News Service. "Antibiotics don't prevent complications of kids' respiratory infections." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140218153724.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

AFP (Aug. 21, 2014) — Two American missionaries who were sickened with Ebola while working in Liberia and were treated with an experimental drug are doing better and have left the hospital, doctors say on August 21, 2014. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) — Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. 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:
from the past week

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