Doctors warn about dangers of over-prescribing antibiotics - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Doctors warn about dangers of over-prescribing antibiotics

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Just in time for the holidays comes a warning from doctors, as the number of sick people historically spikes: know the difference between illnesses requiring antibiotics and those that don't.

It depends on who you ask, but many doctors believe antibiotics are over-prescribed by other doctors. That can have very serious implications if a patient has a sickness that requires antibiotics in the future.

If a patient doesn't have a fever, Dr. Jon Pangia with Grand Strand Medical Center explained, 95 percent of the time they have a virus. That means a doctor shouldn't prescribe antibiotics, they should send the patient to the over-the-counter aisle in their local pharmacy.

"Too many people are getting antibiotics that they don't need," Dr. Pangia said. "The concern for that, is that perhaps the antibiotics are becoming less-effective. Which means that they're not killing the bacteria that they're supposed to."

Dr. Pangia said he sometimes doesn't use medical terms when he diagnoses patients.

"I don't tell people they have bronchitis, I don't tell them they have a sinus infection, I don't even say necessarily an upper respiratory infection- a URI- because people start to think that perhaps it might be something antibiotics will work on," Dr. Pangia explained. "What I do use is the name for all these things, which is, a cold."

Health officials prescribing antibiotics for viral illnesses because their patients ask for them, are doing more harm than good. "And it's gotten to the point where I'm worried when I see a legitimate pneumonia in a chest X-ray, I hesitate a bit to try somebody on the most common antibiotic prescribed for these colds," according to Dr. Pangia. He said he fears an antibiotic might not work if patients have had it in the past too many times.

That's not the only issue when it comes to getting a prescription when you don't really need one.

"A darker issue too is I've seen just enough people with allergic reactions, with other side-effects from antibiotics," Dr. Pangia said. "And I find they're put on the antibiotic for something that was never a bacteria infection, it was a virus, and they never should have been on it to begin with."

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