Can We Stop Overprescribing Antibiotics? Readers Speak Out

Laura A. Stokowski, RN, MS


July 17, 2014

In This Article

The Last Word

A Medscape reader remarks, "For every item in the long list of reasons to continue overprescribing antibiotics, there should be an even longer list of ways to address each reason. Don't tell me this is an unsolvable problem. It is unaddressed only by lack of motivation and coordination." Another clinician writes, "If healthcare on the whole makes a decision to do the right and ethical thing, backed up by their peers and regulating organizations, including those who decide what is appropriate in food and for other uses, wouldn't this be yesterday's news rather quickly? Or will we keep talking and making excuses?"

The honor of having the last word goes to a pediatrician, who sums up his opinions about the entire issue of antibiotic overprescribing. "Too many doctors are just wimps. Use your mind and don't default to the path of least resistance (or more resistance, in this case). If you are consistent with your prescribing patterns, your patients will learn. They will stop coming in for a cold they have had for 4 days. They are trainable and will grow to appreciate that you are trying to practice good medicine. Explain that the illness is a virus. Give them guidance about the likely duration. Give them things to watch for that would necessitate a recheck. Talking to them works! Sure, you will make a few mad. They may fill out a nasty survey. Who cares? In the end, you practiced good medicine."


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