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Doctors Still Prescribe Too Many Antibiotics

Out of more than 7 million children who visit their doctors complaining of a sore throat over a year's time, 54 percent of them will be prescribed an antibiotic. According to a long-term study, however, antibiotics are necessary in as little as 15 percent of those cases, and only when the real problem is strep throat.

Doctors could avoid that mistake by giving children a simple test for strep throat. But, about half the time, kids who received those needless drugs were never given that test. Even worse, some doctors prescribed antibiotics that weren't recommended for treating strep throat in 27 percent of the cases studied.

That said, physicians are slowly beginning to understand antibiotics aren't a one-stop cure: Their habit of prescribing antibiotics has declined more than 10 percent over the past decade.

Just a reminder, I'm not opposed to the use of antibiotics in every case, merely an over-reliance on them in situations in which they are little or no use. And, in my experience, that's well over 95 percent of the time.

Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 294, No. 18, November 9, 2005: 1864-1868

Yahoo News November 8, 2005

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