England’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is urging doctors to NOT prescribe antibiotics for most cases of sore throats, colds, bronchitis, and most respiratory infections. Reuters reports:
They should also delay writing such prescriptions and reassure people the drugs are not needed immediately and would make little difference because most respiratory infections are viral, the new guidelines said.
"Management of respiratory tract infections in the past concentrated on advising prompt antibiotic treatment," Paul Little, who helped write the new guidelines, said in a statement.
"However, as rates of major complications are much less common in modern developed countries, so the evidence of symptomatic benefit should be strong to justify prescribing antibiotics so that we are not needlessly exposing patients to side effects."
The overuse of antibiotics is a growing concern for health officials worldwide as hospitals report an increasing number of drug-resistant bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.
MRSA infections can range from boils to more severe infections of the bloodstream, lungs and surgical sites. Most cases are associated with hospitals, nursing homes or other health care facilities.
The drugs watchdog said a quarter of people in England and Wales visit the doctor because of respiratory tract infections, which account for 60 percent of all antibiotic prescriptions in general practice.
This is a recurring topic. Dr. Fuhrman has strong opinions on prescribing antibiotics. He faults both doctors and pharmaceutical companies. Check it out:
Drug companies are a big part of this problem. They promote the use of their products through widespread advertising and the practice of giving free samples of the more potent, broad-spectrum antibiotics to doctors.
Most doctors perpetuate this problem because they give in to the pressure to prescribe antibiotics. They like to appear that they are offering an important and necessary service by writing prescriptions.
But Dr. Fuhrman would definitely agree with NICE’s recommendation. He insists antibiotics are appropriate for severe bacterial infections. Likes these:
- Lyme disease
- Joint infections
- Cat bites
- Bronchitis (in a long-term smokers)
Seems to me this strategy would really cut into the profits of drug makers.