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IDWeek 2013: Antibiotics Overprescribed for Sore Throat & Bronchitis

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The Particulars: Previous research indicates that only about 10% of sore throats and virtually 0% of acute bronchitis cases are caused by bacteria. As such, these conditions do not require antibiotics, according to current guidelines. Inappropriate use of antibiotics adds to the creation of drug-resistant bacteria and exposes patients to adverse effects. Current data on the misuse of antibiotics for sore throats and acute bronchitis are lacking.

Data Breakdown: For a study, researchers analyzed national data on antibiotic prescriptions for sore throats and acute bronchitis. According to findings, antibiotics were prescribed in 60% of patient visits for sore throats and 73% of visits for acute bronchitis.

Take Home Pearl: The majority of patients who visit their physician for a sore throat or acute bronchitis appear to be prescribed an antibiotic. However, only a small percentage of these cases are due to bacterial infection. For most patients, physicians should recommend rest, fluid, and humidifier use.

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