Thursday, March 20, 2014

Hospital Antibiotic Use Can Put Patients at Risk, Study Says

News Brief by Avneet Soin

It is counterintuitive to think that a cure can cause a disease - but according to a recent federal study, that can be the case when it comes to antibiotics. The study found that doctors sometimes prescribe up to three times the amount needed, aiding in the creation of antibiotic-resistant ‘superbugs.’ Already, antibiotic-resistant infections kill about 23,000 people in the United States per year. Furthermore, sometimes patients are given antibiotics for the wrong amount of time or without proper evaluation beforehand. The lack of testing is an especially rampant issue, with about 40 percent of patients reporting prescriptions for urinary tract infections without the necessary prior evaluations.

Antibiotic-related issues have become so large that the CDC has been allotted $30 million specifically to combat them. The CDC has recommended that hospitals create a specific seven-step plan for prescribing antibiotics that includes reassessment within 48 hours, as well as other measures to increase general monitoring. Having such a system has proven to help hospitals decrease their antibiotic use in medical wards by three times, as found by a study focusing on acute-care hospitals. The benefits of decreasing drug prescriptions include a decrease in diseases that result from antibiotics, such as Clostridium difficile (a deadly diarrheal disease), as well as a slowing in the movement towards creating more superbugs. 

Sun, Lena H. "Hospital Antibiotic Use Can Put Patients at Risk, Study Says." Health & Science. The Washington Post, 04 Mar. 2014. Web. 16 Mar. 2014.
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