YOUR HEALTH: Antibiotic alert: Reducing drug overuse in kids

An infectious diseases pharmacist is warning patients about the misuse of antibiotics to treat children.
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 8:17 AM CDT
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SALT LAKE CITY (Ivanhoe Newswire) - There’s a growing concern among pediatricians and pharmacists about the overuse of antibiotics in children. New evidence suggests children are being prescribed antibiotics more often than necessary, potentially creating more dangerous drug-resistant infections. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates at least 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur each year in the U.S. leading to over 35,000 deaths.

Jared Olson, an infectious diseases pharmacist at Intermountain Health’s Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, is warning patients about the misuse of antibiotics to treat children.

“The biggest misuses of antibiotics in children are really for viral infections,” Olson explained.

An example of a virus is a cold. Strep throat, on the other hand, is a bacterial infection.

“They come at a cost that’s in side effects. So, some of the most common side effects that we see with antibiotics are diarrhea and also rashes that are relatively minor. But we can also see really serious adverse events such as allergic reactions that require hospitalizations,” Olson said.

Over the past decade, the CDC reports antibiotic prescriptions for children have increased by 50 percent.

And that overuse is creating more drug-resistant organisms.

“It’s become really concerning recently because we don’t have a lot of new drugs that are being developed,” Olson said.

New research shows that if your child does need antibiotics, shorter durations are just as effective as longer durations. And parents can do their part by not insisting on antibiotics for every illness.

A study in the Journal of Pediatrics reveals that almost 50 percent of doctor visits for respiratory infections resulted in antibiotic prescriptions, despite the doctors telling the parents it would not help.

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