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antibiotic overuse in children leads to thousands of er visits


Antibiotic Overuse Children

Have you seen the latest?  The Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society just published a study titled US Emergency Department Visits for Adverse Drug Events From Antibiotics in Children….  After the team of 6 CDC researchers mentioned that antibiotics are arguably the most-prescribed drugs for children, and then warned their readers that a minimum of one in three prescriptions are “unnecessary,” they concluded that “Antibiotic adverse events lead to many emergency department visits, particularly among young children.” 

Of course this begs the question of how many is many?  Try 70,000 on for size.  And the kicker is that we know from hundreds of previous studies that adverse events to all drugs, antibiotics included, are only reported to the proper authorities a few times out of 100 (1-5%, but usually on the lower end — HERE). However, these facts still don’t reveal the magnitude of this problem.

The authors stated that “In 2011, 889 antibiotic prescriptions were dispensed from retail pharmacies for every 1000 children aged 19 years or younger“.  Are you following this?  That means that almost every kid in America is getting at least one prescription of ANTIBIOTICS per year from a pharmacy (this study did not count prescriptions for antibiotics made in facilities or hospitals, which would have probably more than doubled the numbers). 

This translates into “nearly 74 million prescriptions” from pharmacies alone.  If you do the math, calculating half of all these prescriptions as unnecessary (many studies say the numbers are actually worse), you’ll quickly see that’s 37 million prescriptions of ANTIBIOTICS that are, by medical definition, “unnecessary,” qualifying as antibiotic overuse.  Naturally, the highest risk group were toddlers and infants, with over 40% of the ER visits occurring in this age group.

“Antibiotic adverse events (ADEs) lead to nearly 70,000 estimated emergency department (ED) visits among children each year in the United States and should be a key area of focus for outpatient pediatric medication safety efforts. Antibiotics are implicated in nearly half of all ED visits for ADEs attributed to a systemic medication among children of all ages and are implicated in nearly two-thirds of ED visits for all ADEs among the youngest children….  

Communicating information on antibiotic ADEs risks to parents / caregivers might help lessen the demand for or expectation of antibiotics. Parents / caregivers often overestimate the benefits of antibiotics, which can lead to their demand for or expectation of antibiotic treatment. Clinicians might perceive parent / caregiver expectations and, coupled with a concern for parent/patient satisfaction, might over-prescribe antibiotics.

A recent study, revealed few mothers of young children were familiar with severe antibiotic-associated ADEs, and nearly all of them would have liked to receive this information when antibiotics were prescribed.”

So, parents are saying on one hand that they want to be educated about unnecessary and dangerous over-prescription of antibiotics (something they could do with Google), yet on the other, are constantly pressuring their doctor to prescribe more antibiotics. Question; how many brutally blunt conversations are taking place in the pediatrician’s office pertaining to this subject? 

Last March’s issue of the Annals of Family Medicine (Parents’ Expectations and Experiences of Antibiotics for Acute Respiratory Infections in Primary Care) answered this question by revealing that, “78% [of parents] did not remember any discussion about possible antibiotic harms.”  Why is this such a big deal?  Because when it comes to upper respiratory infections and EAR INFECTIONS — two of the most common reasons kids are prescribed antibiotics — they are actually contraindicated (antibiotic overuse). 

That’s right folks, if your child is receiving an antibiotic for these or other similar problems (sinus infections for instance — HERE) —- your physician is not following standards of care and is over-prescribing — it’s blatant antibiotic overuse.  The Annals went on to say….

“Most believed antibiotics provide benefits for common acute respiratory infections, especially for acute otitis media (92%), although not using them, particularly for acute cough and sore throat, was sometimes acceptable. Parents grossly overestimated the mean benefit of antibiotics on illness symptom duration by 5 to 10 times, and believed they reduce the likelihood of complications.”

Here’s the deal parents.  Antibiotics foul GUT HEALTH in ways we are only just beginning to figure out, which leads to DYSBIOSIS / LEAKY GUT, which in turn leads to AUTOIMMUNITYASTHMA is the perfect example.  It’s time to get your family off the medical merry-go-round and back on the road to health.  Be warned that this will be impossible without some serious dietary intervention and the realization that sugar and processed carbs actually feed these beasts (HERE). 

Although it’s certainly not written specifically for young children, THIS POST may have some suggestions that will alter your thinking.  If you know people that could benefit from this information (according to this study, there are millions upon millions out there), be sure to help reach them by showing us some love on FACEBOOK.


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