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Informed Patients Can Help Stem Antibiotic Overuse

Posted 13 Sep 2013 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Sept. 13 – A local, low-cost information campaign that was primarily aimed at patients – although involving doctors and pharmacists as well – helped reduce antibiotic prescribing, according to a new study from Italy. Overuse of antibiotics is considered a major global public health concern because it can lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Unnecessary and inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics is common. This study, published Sept. 12 on BMJ.com, looked at an antibiotic education campaign implemented by local health officials in the provinces of Modena and Parma in 2011 to 2012. Nearby provinces where no such campaigns were implemented acted as a control group. Italy has one of the highest levels of antibiotic use in Europe, according to a journal news release. The campaign was designed to inform the general population that antibiotics are necessary in ... Read more

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Penicillin Prevents Return of Leg Infection Called Cellulitis: Study

Posted 1 May 2013 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, May 1 – For people who have suffered from cellulitis of the leg, a long course of low-dose penicillin prevents the painful infection from returning, British researchers report. Once the penicillin is stopped, however, its protective effect diminishes and the condition can flare up again, the researchers noted. "Low-dose penicillin substantially reduces the risk of further episodes of leg cellulitis in those who have had two or more previous episodes," said lead researcher Hywel Williams, a professor of dermato-epidemiology at the University of Nottingham. "The penicillin reduced recurrences from 37 percent in the group taking placebo to 22 percent in those taking penicillin," Williams said. "But this effect only occurred in the period that folks took the penicillin. When they stopped the 12 months of penicillin, the protective effect wore off." Cellulitis is a common ... Read more

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Antibiotic Prescribing Rates Vary by Region: Report

Posted 10 Apr 2013 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, April 10 – The chances that your doctor will give you antibiotics when you're sick may be influenced by geography, new research reveals. It's tough to know exactly what factors contributed to the regional variations the research team found in antibiotic prescription rates, said study author Lauri Hicks, medical director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Why is West Virginia more than double compared to Alaska? I imagine there are provider factors, patient factors and cultural factors that are all shaping the impact," Hicks said. Some patients may pressure physicians to give them what they perceive as a "quick fix" so they can get back to work sooner or return their sick child to day care, Hicks added. Unfortunately, that contributes to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance, she said. "We should be thinking of antibiotics not as a magic bullet, ... Read more

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Health Tip: Take Antibiotics Only When Needed

Posted 17 Jan 2013 by Drugs.com

-- The more you take an antibiotic unnecessarily, the more likely bacteria can adapt and become resistant to the drug. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers this advice to help prevent antibiotic resistance: Ask your doctor whether you need an antibiotic to treat your illness. Consider whether there are other ways to help you feel better that don't involve an antibiotic. Never take an antibiotic to treat a viral infection, such as the flu or common cold. An antibiotic can only treat infections that are bacterial, not viral. Always take an antibiotic exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Never skip a dose or stop taking it before your prescription is finished. Never take an antibiotic that was prescribed for someone else. Read more

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Health Tip: Use Antibiotics Wisely

Posted 22 Nov 2012 by Drugs.com

-- Your child must take an antibiotic according to a doctor's prescription or label instructions, to make sure the medicine works properly and doesn't foster drug-resistant bacteria. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers these tips for parents: Make sure your child takes the entire course of medication exactly as prescribed. Give your child an antibiotic prescribed just for him or her; never share an antibiotic prescribed for someone else. Schedule any follow-up appointment recommended by your pediatrician after the antibiotic is finished – for example, an ear exam after an ear infection. Be sure to call the pediatrician if your child has finished an antibiotic and still isn't feeling well. Read more

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Many Americans Still in the Dark About Antibiotic Resistance

Posted 13 Nov 2012 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Nov. 13 – Americans are not as smart about antibiotics and antibiotic resistance as they should be, a new poll shows. For instance, although almost 90 percent of Americans know that antibiotics are effective for treating bacterial infections, more than a third also erroneously believed the drugs can fight viral infections such as the common cold or the flu. "It's a common misperception that antibiotics can cure the common cold, and unnecessary overuse of antibiotics for illnesses like colds is dumping fuel on a wildfire of resistance," said Dr. Lauri Hicks, medical director of the "Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work" program at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of antibiotic-resistant "superbugs" is soaring. In 2005, almost 370,000 Americans were hospitalized with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), up from only about 2,000 in ... Read more

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Antibiotics in Childhood May Increase Bowel Disease Risk: Study

Posted 24 Sep 2012 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Sept. 24 – Use of certain antibiotics may put children at higher risk for developing bowel diseases, new research has found. The earlier children take antibiotics and the more they take, the higher the risk of later developing the inflammatory bowel diseases known as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, the researchers found. "There appears to be a 'dose response' effect," said Dr. Matt Kronman, assistant professor of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. "The more antibiotics children took, the more their risk increased." Earlier studies had suggested a link between bowel disease and antibiotics use, but most of those studies had limitations. The new study, published online Sept. 24 in the journal Pediatrics, looked at data on more than 1 million children 17 years old or younger in nearly 500 health practices ... Read more

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Kids' Penicillin Allergy May Not Signal Other Drug Reactions

Posted 7 Mar 2012 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, March 7 – Children who are allergic to penicillin are not more likely than other kids to develop additional drug allergies, new research suggests. Pediatric patients who need antibiotics are often prescribed penicillin, the study authors noted. Prior research in adults has suggested that allergies to penicillin could be a signal for additional allergies to other medications. But in the new study, which included an analysis of 778 medical records from patients under the age of 18, of the 8 percent of children who had a positive skin test for penicillin allergy, just 21 percent were found to have allergies to additional drugs. In comparison, 23 percent of those with negative penicillin skin tests displayed multiple drug allergies. The findings were presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), in Orlando, Fla. "I ... Read more

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Health Tip: Why Antibiotic Resistance Is Serious

Posted 16 Nov 2011 by Drugs.com

-- Antibiotic resistance occurs when a bacterium mutates and becomes immune to the effects of a specific antibiotic. You can help prevent antibiotic resistance by taking an antibiotic regimen only when necessary. Remember that antibiotics don't work against viral infections such as a cold or the flu. If you do begin taking an antibiotic, you should never skip a dose. Also, you should finish the entire amount that your doctor has prescribed, despite the fact that you might be feeling better. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says antibiotic-resistant bacteria are dangerous because: It may be difficult to find a medication that kills the bacteria. Resistant bacteria tend to spread more quickly between families and within communities. Infections become more difficult and more expensive to treat. People may die from a resistant infection before it can be treated ... Read more

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Docs Overprescribing Antibiotics for Home-Care Patients: Study

Posted 17 Jun 2011 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, June 17 – Amid increased threats of drug-resistant infections, a new study reveals that doctors may overprescribe antibiotics to patients receiving ongoing medical care at home. Researchers from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, found that patients younger than 65 and those with poorer prognoses, in particular, are at greatest risk for misuse of the drugs. "Taken together, our results reveal tremendous variability in how and why antibiotics are prescribed, and that overuse in the home-care population is likely," said one of the study's authors, Dr. Mark Loeb. In conducting the study, published in the June issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, researchers compiled medical information on more than 125,000 patients receiving home care for more than 60 days over the course of one year. The findings suggested that doctors may be more cautious with younger ... Read more

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Smarten Up About Antibiotics, CDC Urges

Posted 18 Nov 2010 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Nov. 18 – Knowing when to take antibiotics – and when not to – can help fight the rise of deadly "superbugs," say experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About half of antibiotics prescribed are unnecessary or inappropriate, the agency says, and overuse has helped create bacteria that don't respond, or respond less effectively, to the drugs used to fight them. "Antibiotics are a shared resource that has become a scarce resource," said Dr. Lauri Hicks, a medical epidemiologist at the CDC. She's also medical director a of new program, Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work, that had its launch this week. "Everyone has a role to play in preventing the spread of antibiotic resistance," Hicks said. The stakes are high, said Dr. Arjun Srinivasan, CDC's associate director for health care-associated infection prevention programs. Almost every type of bacteria ... Read more

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A Radical Plan To Save Antibiotics

Posted 7 Sep 2010 by Drugs.com

From Guardian Web (September 7, 2010) What are we to do about the diminishing power of antibiotics - once the miracle drugs that looked set to end infectious diseases? We know the problem is becoming very serious - here is a piece I wrote about the alarming prospects for a future without antibiotics. But we don’t hear much in the way of imaginative answers. So it’s refreshing to read a paper out this morning from Aaron Kesselheim, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and Kevin Outterson, a professor at Boston University Law School. Their analysis, published in the journal Health Affairs, says the usual idea, to give pharmaceutical companies financial incentives to invent and manufacture more antibiotics, won’t work. One of the reasons we are in this parlous state of affairs, they say, is that drug companies in the past have tried too hard to sell more ... Read more

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Antibiotic Resistance Can Last a Year, Review Finds

Posted 19 May 2010 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, May 18 – Some patients who take antibiotics may become resistant to them and stay that way for as long as a year, a new review finds. The researchers analyzed 24 studies of antibiotic resistance, in which people develop a partial or full immunity to the powers of a medication. The studies looked at use of the drugs in primary care, most often for respiratory or urinary tract infections. Antibiotic resistance is at its height in the month after a drug is prescribed, but the effect may last for a year, according to the findings published online May 18 in BMJ. "Primary care clinicians and patients may wish to consider this evidence when discussing the benefits and risks of prescribing and consuming antibiotics," study author Alastair Hay, consultant senior lecturer in primary health care at the University of Bristol in England, and colleagues concluded. In an accompanying ... Read more

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Penicillin Allergy Might Not Include Related Antibiotic

Posted 27 Feb 2010 by Drugs.com

SATURDAY, Feb. 27 – Most patients who have a history of penicillin allergy can safely take antibiotics called cephalosporins, U.S. researchers say. Cephalosporins – which are related to penicillin in their structure, uses and effects – are the most frequently prescribed class of antibiotics. "Almost all patients undergoing major surgery receive antibiotics to reduce the risk of infections. Many patients with a history of penicillin allergy don't get the cephalosporin because of a concern of possible drug reaction. They might get a second-choice antibiotic that is not quite as effective," study author Dr. James T. Li, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said in a news release from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. He and his colleagues conducted penicillin allergy skin tests on 178 patients who reported a history of severe allergic (anaphylactic) reaction to ... Read more

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