Experts have suggested that antibiotics should not be prescribed for ailments like the common cold, bronchitis, sore throat or sinus infections. The guidelines have come from experts at the American College of Physicians and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Both organizations believe that antibiotics are being over prescribed, especially for common ailments which do not require their use. Over-prescription of antibiotics can contribute to antibiotic resistance.
The American College of Physicians (ACP) news release stated, “50 percent of antibiotic prescriptions may be unnecessary or inappropriate in the outpatient setting, which equates to over $3 billion in excess costs.”
ACP President Dr. Wayne Riley said, “Inappropriate use of antibiotics for ARTIs [acute respiratory tract infections] is an important factor contributing to the spread of antibiotic-resistant infections, which is a public health threat. Reducing overuse of antibiotics for ARTIs in adults is a clinical priority and a High Value Care way to improve quality of care, lower health care costs, and slow and/or prevent the continued rise in antibiotic resistance.”
The new guidelines recommend:
- Doctors should inform patients with a cold that symptoms may last for a few weeks and only follow up with a doctor if symptoms last longer or worsen
- Antibiotics should not be prescribed with uncomplicated bronchitis, unless pneumonia is suspected
- Antibiotics should only be prescribed with a sore throat if strep throat is confirmed
- Antibiotics don’t benefit uncomplicated sinus infections and they can clear up on their on or with the help of over the counter medications. Antibiotics should only be given after 10 days or if symptoms become severe and are accompanied by a fever
The new guidelines are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.