Antibiotics are being misused...
Widespread use of antibiotics are being prescribed to treat disorders in which they have no effectiveness, such as the common cold or other viral complaints. They are used broadly as a measure taken for the prevention of a disease or condition rather than treatment (as in, for example, animal feeds), because this exposes more bacteria to selection for resistance. It is estimated that greater than 70% of these drugs used in U.S. are given to feed animals (e.g. chickens, pigs and cattle) in the absence of disease. Mellon, M. (2001) Hogging It! Estimates of Antimicrobial Abuse in Livestock, 1st ed. Cambridge, MA.
One study on respiratory tract infections found "physicians were more likely to prescribe antibiotics to patients who they believed expected them, although they correctly identified only about 1 in 4 of those patients." Ong, S., Nakase J., Moran, G. J., Karras, D. J., Kuehnert, M. J., Talan, D. A. (2007). Annals of Emergency Medicine, 50 (3): 213–20.
Tuberculosis, staphylococcus and pneumococci are major examples of once easily treated infections where drug-resistance has become a problem. Staphylococcus, which could be treated successfully with penicillin in the 1940s and 1950s are resistant to penicillin and is leaving only a narrow selection of drugs useful for treatment. These resistant bacteria require higher doses of stronger medicine to treat. Doctors have even found bacteria that are resistant to some of the most powerful antibiotics available today.
The most common significant adverse effects are allergic skin reactions, stomach upset, and diarrhea. Most of these are mild, but occasionally they are quite severe. These drugs kill off the necessary good bacteria in the intestinal tract resulting in yeast infections. Therefore, it is extremely important that you take a good probiotic while on antibiotic therapy to replace the good bacteria destroyed by these drugs. Other side effects have been reported in virtually every organ system in the body.
We must balance risks and benefits for almost everything we do,
especially when it involves drugs and our children.
Return to Homepage from Antibiotics