Why Wasn’t I Prescribed Antibiotics
Many common infections are caused by germs called viruses. Antibiotic medicines do not kill viruses. Also, many infections caused by germs called bacteria do not need antibiotics. These infections often get better without antibiotic treatment. Excessive use of antibiotics may allow the germs to become resistant to the antibiotic medicines, so that they will not work when they really are needed. They may also sometimes cause side-effects.
This is why antibiotics are not prescribed for many infections.
11-Oct-17·3 mins read
Recruitment And Sample Selection
A qualitative approach involving semistructured interviews with GPs across Australia was employed. A purposive sample approach was used to select participants to include a diverse range of clinical practices.
In total, 30 GPs were considered to be sufficient to provide a variety in the sample with respect to geography, patient characteristics, age, sex and familiarity with NPS programmes and to achieve data saturation. The GPs were stratified by geographic location and practice socioeconomic profile .
The sample was selected from three cohorts. The first cohort was GPs who participated in a previous antibiotics educational programme and provided their contact details in an evaluation survey for the previous programme, indicating their willingness to participate in follow-up interviews. All 42 GPs who provided their details were contacted. From this group, 14 GPs participated.
The second cohort was GPs who participated in other NPS educational programmes but not in the antibiotic resistance programme in the last 5years. A random sample of 150 was selected from this group. The third cohort was GPs registered with the commercial medical publishing house mail list. A random sample of 300 was selected from this group.
Qualitative study logistics. GP, general practitioner.
Prevention Is The Best Medicine
Keeping yourself healthy during flu season starts with prevention.
The best way to avoid getting the flu is to get vaccinated, said Dr. Policht. The flu shot may not be 100 percent effective, but even if you do get sick after getting the vaccine, its likely that your illness wont be as severe.
Getting your flu shot is easier than ever for Geisinger patients. Get a walk-in flu shot during business hours at:
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Shift To Prescribing Fewer Antibiotics
Getting doctors to prescribe fewer antibiotics is a major challenge. Patients often believe they need these medicines and research shows that, when this is the case, doctors frequently prescribe them even when they, themselves, arent sure theyre appropriate. Its understandable for patients to want antibiotics. When a bacterial infection is the problem, nothing is as effective. The fact is, antibiotics have saved countless lives. But most illnesses do not require antibiotics. The most frequent reason people visit a doctor is respiratory infection sore throats, coughs, runny noses and the like. These are usually viruses. Unfortunately, even when doctors suggest patients treat such illnesses as viruses, patients often insist they need an antibiotic, and doctors too often acquiesce. About 90% of all prescriptions for antibiotics are written by general practitioners, with respiratory illness being the leading reason.
Reasons Why You Did Not Receive Antibiotics From Your Provider
Have you ever left your health care providers office feeling frustrated that you didnt get an antibiotic for a sinus infection, sore throat, or ear infection? If you answered yes, you are not alone. Each year, millions of people visit their provider looking for antibiotics to cure infections. The reality is that most of these illness are caused by viruses and do not need antibiotics to get better. This includes the common cold, sore throats that are not caused by Strep, most coughs, bronchitis, ear infectionsand sinus infections. Yes, I said ear infections and sinus infections!
How can my doctor tell whether my illness is caused by a virus or bacteria? Though there is no easy way to tell for sure, infections caused by bacteria often take on certain characteristics. They tend to last longer, cause a fever of 100.4 degrees or greater, and may make people sick enough to be hospitalized. Evidence shows that infections lasting 10 days or longer are more likely caused by bacteria, and infections lasting less than that are caused by viruses.
At this point, you might be shaking your head in disbelief, or asking How can that be? You might even wonder why your doctor isnt treating you just in case. After all, 10 days is a long time to wait when you are feeling ill. The answer is tri-fold:
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Why Your Doctor Won’t Prescibe Antibiotics
Why are some doctors so stingy with antibiotics? House Call Doctor reveals the dangers of antibiotic overuse. Plus – the reason why it’s so hard to get a prescription for antibiotics over the phone
Have you ever wondered why doctors seem so stingy with antibiotic prescriptions?
I mean, here you are suffering from a nasty cold and you simply cannot be sick right now . Whats the harm in taking a few anti-bacterial zappers? They couldnt hurt, right? Why cant these stuffy doctors just give in a little?
A new patient recently came to see me in clinic. He decided to switch primary care doctors after his previous doctor wouldnt write a prescription for a second round of antibiotics without seeing him in clinic.
Initially, the patient self-diagnosed with a sinus infection, called his doctor, was given one round of antibiotics that didnt seem to work. So he tried to call in for another round but was denied. He was distraught and angry.
I cant come in for every little thing just because he wants to collect my copay and make money off every visit, he exclaimed. So I told him Im finding a new doctor!”
It’s a valid question: Why are some doctors hesitant about prescribing antibiotics, especially without a visit?
Unfortunately, in spite of what you may have heard, antibiotics dont do a thing for viruses.
The Rise Of Antibiotic
When antibiotics were first discovered, there was a boom in developing new ones. However, that has slowed dramatically since the 1950s. In fact, a new class of antibiotics hasnt been discovered in the past 30 years. Weve been prescribing the same drugs for years because theyve worked until now.
Bacteria are smart. They evolve in order to survive future antibiotic attacks. The more often an antibiotic is used, the more bacteria develop antibiotic resistance, rendering the drug less effective. This is true even when an antibiotic is used to treat a viral infection. The antibiotic wont cure the viral infection, but it will attack bacteria that werent causing you harm and the bacteria will adapt to avoid being targeted next time.
As bacteria become resistant to antibiotics, patients may need stronger antibiotics or may need to take them longer. Oral antibiotics may even stop working, and patients will need to switch to IV medications. Or, there may come a point where no antibiotic will work on a particular strain of bacteria.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 2 million people were infected by and 23,000 died from antibiotic-resistant infections in 2013. One report predicts that , antibiotic-resistant infections will kill more people than cancer. By working together, we can help ward off this public health threat.
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Viral Infections And Antibiotics
Antibiotics treat bacterial infections, but influenza is caused by a virus, so antibiotics arent effective treatment for the flu. In fact, antibiotics may do more harm than good if you have the flu, says Dr. Tyler Policht, a family medicine doctor at Geisinger. They wont help you feel better, and they can cause other health problems.
Thats because viruses infect your body in a different way. Viruses infect your cells and multiply inside of them. For the virus, your cells act as a sort of Trojan horse so they can reproduce. Because they hide in your cells, antibiotics cant affect viruses in the same way.
What Do Antibiotics Do
I often see patients who come in complaining about a cough, sinus pressure, or earache and leave disappointed because I didnt prescribe an antibiotic. But antibiotics cant cure everything.
Antibiotics treat bacterial infections. They do not work against infections caused by viruses . So which illnesses are bacterial and which are viral?
Examples of bacterial infections:
- Most coughs
- Most sore throats
There are instances in which an illness could be bacterial or viral, such as an ear or sinus infection. The JAMA study found that of the 17 million prescriptions written for sinus infections the most common reason to prescribe antibiotics 6 million were unnecessary. For antibiotics prescribed for acute respiratory conditions , only half were deemed appropriate. This is because the vast majority of upper respiratory infections are viral, not bacterial.
Viral infections, for the most part, just have to run their course. Symptoms can last two to four weeks. I know you want them to clear up in a few days, but we never want to give you a medication that you dont need especially one that wont help you get better. While antibiotics are prescribed often, they are not without risks. In fact, one out of five visits to the emergency room for an adverse drug event is due to an antibiotic. One common antibiotic, Azithromycin , can cause a potentially fatal arrhythmia in people with pre-existing heart conditions. Even amoxicillin carries a risk of serious side effects.
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Can I Treat A Cold With An Antibiotic
Using an antibiotic for a virus, like a cold or the flu:
- will not cure the virus
- wont help you feel better
- will not prevent others from catching your virus
- will be a waste of your money.
Many bacterial infections do require an antibiotic however, the type of antibiotic will vary based on the type of infection. An antibiotic either prevents bacterial growth or kills bacteria outright .
It is very important not to share your antibiotics with someone else. For example, amoxicillin can be used to treat a bacterial strep throat but will not work for some common pneumonias or bladder infections.
While you may mean well if you share your medicine, the bacteria causing someone else’s infection may not be susceptible to your prescribed antibiotic. In turn, those bacteria may not die and that person’s infection can worsen. Plus, the person you share your antibiotic with may experience side effects or serious allergic reactions from your drug. Overall, sharing any medicine with someone else is risky business.
Do I Need To Finish My Antibiotic
The bottom line: take your antibiotic for as long as your doctor tells you.
Historically you may have been told to always finish all of your prescribed antibiotic, even if you feel 100% better. The thinking was that antibiotic resistance could occur if you stop short of your full course of therapy.
But some experts are now advising that long courses are not always needed and could actually be fueling the antibiotic resistance trend. The American College of Physicians published a guideline in 2021 entitled “ACP Best Practice Advice: Shorter course of antibiotics may be appropriate for some common infections”.
- Healthcare providers and patients should be aware that using antibiotics for shorter periods may have the same or better results compared with longer periods and can also help lower antibiotic resistance.
- The treatment advice from ACP centers on uncomplicated and common infections like bronchitis / COPD, pneumonia, urinary tract infection , and skin infections in otherwise healthy patients.
- Length of treatment often depends on the antibiotic being used or the bacteria being treated, too. For example, for uncomplicated UTI in women, fosfomycin is a medicine that can be given in one single dose, but trimethoprimsulfamethoxazole is given as a 3-day course.
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Why Won’t My Doctor Just Give Me Antibiotics To Treat A Cold Or The Flu
Dr. Andrew Pavia answers the question: ‘What About Antibiotics For A Cold/Flu?’
& #151 — Question: Why Won’t My Doctor Just Give Me Antibiotics To Treat A Cold Or The Flu?
Answer: You don’t want to have anyone give you antibiotics for colds or flu, and you don’t want to take them. The reasons are pretty clear cut. Antibiotics only work against bacteria, and viruses are what cause colds and flu. In addition, they cause almost all cases of sinusitis, and bronchitis or chest colds are also due to viruses. So antibiotics won’t do any good. Some people have had the experience that the cold settles in their chest — somebody gave them antibiotics and they finally got better.
But in fact if you give people sugar pills or antibiotics for acute bronchitis, they get better at the same speed. So it makes no difference whether you take antibiotics or not.
So why not just try them? Well the reason is that like any powerful medicines antibiotics can actually cause harm. And in this case, it can cause harm two ways. You can have bad effects from the antibiotic itself, you can get diarrhea, you can develop rashes. One type of diarrhea called clostridium difficile can be life threatening. In fact, rashes are common enough, and side effects are common enough with antibiotics, that about one in a thousand people who takes an antibiotic will end up in an emergency room for a side effect.
Dealing With Patients’ Expectations
Consumer education was the most common strategy reported by participants to manage patients’ expectations and demands for antibiotics. Education was often given after expectations were identified and often in response to patients’ demands. Common approaches included talking to the patient and providing the patient with information such as print-offs or handouts. Some participants used personalised written information and communicated with patients in their own language as strategies to deal with patients expectations.
Some of the key educational messages delivered by participants include:
- URTI is likely to be a viral infection, and that antibiotics are only necessary for bacterial infections.
- Antibiotics are not needed to treat URTIs, and they may not make you feel better any sooner.
Several barriers to effective patient communication and education were identified by participants including limited time with patients to explain, limited educational resources that met the needs of specific patient groups and communication barriers .
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Why You Might Not Get Prescribed Antibiotics In Urgent Care
Our patients walk through vybe urgent cares door for lots of different reasons. From yearly physicals and flu shots, to illnesses, injuries and on-site lab services, were dedicated to helping with all your urgent care needs.
Our role as a healthcare provider is a unique one. Its our responsibility to provide care at the highest clinical standard. Sometimes, though, patients who visit may already have an idea whats wrong with them and what they need to get better. Well sometimes receive feedback from patients saying we didnt treat them properly because we didnt prescribe an antibiotic. But theres a reason that you may leave your visit without a prescription for antibiotics.
To explain how we keep your best interests in mind, lets dive in.
When to use antibiotics?
While antibiotics may seem like the obvious solution to any sickness you have, that couldnt be further from the truth. Antibiotics are only meant to treat bacterial infections and wont do any good for viral infections such as the cold or flu. Two conditions for which antibiotics were previously commonly prescribed are Bronchitis and Sinusitis. Today, research has shown that antibiotics will not help patients heal from these conditions, in most cases.
Whats the harm?
Theres longer term risk from continuing to overprescribe.
Put simply, our society is running out of effective antibiotics.
Why is this important for urgent care?
Path To Improved Well Being
Antibiotics can only treat bacterial infections. This includes strep throat and urinary infections. Antibiotics cannot treat viruses. This includes colds, the flu, or mono . Sometimes doctors prescribe an antibiotic to prevent an infection. Antibiotics are also used to treat some illnesses caused by parasites.
Tips to reduce antibiotic resistance:
- Dont ask your doctor for an antibiotic for a virus. Ask what you can do to feel better and treat your symptoms.
- Follow the daily dosing instructions. Take all the medicine as prescribed dont save any. This helps kill the infection completely.
- Wash your hands with soap and water before you eat and after you use the bathroom. This will help keep you healthy. It can reduce the need for antibiotics.
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What Are The Side Effects
Antibiotics, when unnecessarily prescribed, can kill some bacteria that live in the large intestines, while others cause nausea. If you are taking other medications, antibiotics may also have an impact on the effectiveness of those other medications. Some patients may also develop allergic reactions to it. Over time, if you regularly take particular kinds of antibiotics, you may develop resistance to the medication, rendering it useless.
One certain type of antibiotic known as Azithromycin can actually be potentially hazardous for those with pre-existing heart conditions since it can cause fatal arrhythmia. Amoxicillin, which is another kind of antibiotic, also carries certain risks when not consumed the right way.
Do not demand from your doctor to prescribe you with antibiotics. If your doctor prescribed you with an antibiotic, however, make sure that you clarify with your doctor whether or not you really need it. If you have any further questions, doctors are more than happy to explain why you need antibiotics for your medical condition.
Follow this important guideline on how to take your antibiotics:
Take them precisely as to how they are prescribedEven if you feel better, do not stop taking the antibiotics, unless advised otherwise by your doctorDo not share with family or friendsDo not use old prescriptions of antibiotics for new infections