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Patient Education Helps Prevent Overuse of Antibiotics for Cough, Study Finds
Date:1/18/2013

t statistically significant, the researchers noted.

In contrast, the study revealed that the percentage of teens and adults with bronchitis who were prescribed antibiotics increased slightly -- from 73 percent to 74 percent -- at the control sites.

"We found that printed and computer-assisted approaches were equally effective at improving antibiotic treatment of uncomplicated acute bronchitis," the researchers said in a journal news release. "In aggregate, these findings support the wider dissemination and use of [these materials] to help reduce the overuse of antibiotics for acute bronchitis."

Dr. Jeffrey Linder, of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, also weighed in on the study.

"Despite the evidence, meta-analyses and performance measures, antibiotic prescribing for acute bronchitis in the United States remains at more than 70 percent," he said in the news release. "We should address patients' symptoms, but for antibiotics we need to tell our patients that this medicine is more likely to hurt [them] than to help [them]. Success is not reducing the antibiotic prescribing rate by 10 percent; success is reducing the antibiotic prescribing rate to 10 percent."

The overuse of antibiotics to treat acute respiratory tract infections is exacerbating antibiotic resistance, the researchers noted. They added that roughly 30 percent of doctor visits for colds and upper respiratory tract infections and as many as 80 percent of all visits for bronchitis are treated with antibiotics.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more information on the overuse of antibiotics.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: JAMA, news release, Jan. 14, 2013


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