Your doc may be less likely to give you antibiotics when you come down with a nasty sinus infection this winter. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just released a report with new guidelines: Doctors shouldn’t prescribe the powerful medications for respiratory tract infections (sinus, throat, or lung infection) unless they think a patient will develop pneumonia.
The report found that half of all antibiotic prescriptions given during outpatient treatment might be inappropriate or unnecessary (this translates to more than $3 billion in wasteful spending, eek!).
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For most doctors, this isn’t new information. Seven years ago, the Infectious Diseases Society of America put out similar guidelines. Daniel Park, M.D, a Greatist expert and pediatric emergency physician at the Medical University of South Carolina, says he was trained to follow these guidelines in his residency.
But that doesn’t mean patients have heard the same advice. “Patients often want or demand antibiotics when they come to the doctor’s office,” Park says. “But we have to remember that they may not completely understand the drawbacks of antibiotics, especially in the setting of an ailment that does not require them.” Some of those drawbacks include building up antibiotic resistance (if we take them too often or in the wrong dosage), nasty side effects, and the potential for allergic reactions.