Antibiotics Still Being Overprescribed for Children

The November 9, 2005 publication of the Journal of the American Medical Association, (JAMA) published a study which indicated antibiotics remain increasingly being overprescribed for kids who have no need for them, and in some cases once they do need antibiotics, the incorrect kinds are now being given.

The analysis indicated that 53% of youngsters with sore throats are now being prescribed prescription antibiotics. The truth is the research notes that only between 15 and 33% of kids with sore throats actually have strep throat. They observe that a genuine strep throat is one brought on by infection from streptococci bacteria.

Salynn Boyles, of WebMD reporting about the study in a November 8, 2005 article mentioned that, "one in four prescriptions involved antibiotics apart from those recommended, potentially enhancing the risk for treatment failure and future drug resistance."

The investigation did observe that there is a small drop in the use of antibiotics for kids between 1995 and 2003, however the authors of the study attributed this drop to a reduction in the antibiotic agents suitable for usage in strep throat. Chief study author, Jeffrey A. Linder, MD, MPH, of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, noted, "The overall trend is down, but clearly you may still find way too many antibiotics being prescribed."

The study discovered that a test used to confirm the presence of a real strep throat was used only about half the time. Even when this test was used, the study showed that the test results had little effect on whether or not antibiotics were prescribed anyway. Dr. Linder warned, "All kids should be given a strep test before they are treated with antibiotics."

According to Linder the bottom line is that most kids with sore throats probably shouldn't be taking antibiotics, and a strep test should always be given before antibiotics are prescribed.

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