Antibiotic prescription

Bayhealth Joins Initiative to Fight Antibiotic Resistance

Monday, June 25, 2018 |

Each year more than 269 million antibiotic prescriptions are written in the United States, which is enough to give four out of five people one prescription. Prescribing antibiotics unnecessarily can lead to antibiotic resistance. In an effort to decrease antibiotic use in both inpatient and outpatient settings, Bayhealth is participating in the Choose Wisely® Antibiotic Stewardship Initiative. Bayhealth is collaborating with Christiana Care, Nemours, Nanticoke, and Beebe on the initiative as part of the eBrightHealth Network Accountability Care Organization (ACO).

“The number of antibiotics in the pipeline for development face an increased chance of resistance because of the use of antibiotics today,” says Clinical Pharmacist Janelle Caruano. “We need to determine if a patient really needs an antibiotic in a judicial manner because every time they’re used inappropriately, they can potentially do more harm than good.” Patients face dealing with side effects of the antibiotics, with Caruano noting up to 20 percent of patients develop a side effect. Unlike other medications, each time an antibiotic is prescribed, it loses its benefit for future uses.

What does this mean for patients? Physicians may not be prescribing antibiotics, particularly for upper respiratory infections, including bronchitis, sinusitis and pharyngitis, unless it’s absolutely necessary for the patient. “Antibiotics are needed when a patient is suffering from a bacterial infection whereas a viral illness can’t be treated with antibiotics,” Caruano said.

Here’s a list explaining what conditions need antibiotics and what don’t:

  • Needs antibiotics – strep throat, whooping cough and urinary tract infections
  • Don’t need antibiotics – common colds/runny nose, sore throat, flu, and bronchitis/chest colds
  • May need antibiotics – sinus infections and middle ear infections

Sinus infections and middle ear infections may be bacterial or viral infections, which is why they may need antibiotics for treatment. As for bronchitis and chest colds, these are more often viral in nature, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that studies have shown antibiotics will not help healthy children and adults feel better as a result of these infections.

What should you do if you’re suffering from a viral infection? “If your physician doesn’t prescribe antibiotics for an infection, ask for tips on how to treat the illness. Even if an antibiotic isn’t prescribed, you can still treat the symptoms you have,” Caruano said.

Visit CDC.gov/Antibiotic-Use for more information on antibiotic use and resistance. Visit Bayhealth.org/Find-A-Doc or call 1-866-BAY-DOCS (229-3627) if you’re in need of a physician.