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Amid Superbug Scourge, Study Finds 1 in 3 Antibiotic Prescriptions Unnecessary

(COMMON DREAMS) Andrea Germanos, May 5, 2016 — New findings published Tuesday shed more light on the rising problem of “superbugs,” or antibiotic-resistant microbes, showing that at least 30 percent of antibiotics prescribed in the United States are unnecessary.

Modern Healthcare describes the analysis as “the first detailed look at all antibiotic prescribing throughout the country.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with Pew Charitable Trusts and other public health and medical experts, used data from the 2010–2011 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, and identified “47 million excess prescriptions.”

Thirty percent of the 154 million prescriptions for antibiotics given at doctors’ offices and emergency departments were wrong, the study found. That’s because most were prescribed for respiratory conditions caused by viruses, such as sinus and ear infections, which do not respond to antibiotics.

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