More than two dozen American health organizations — including the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics for starters — are banding together to fight the overuse of antibiotics. In new research, Extending the Cure, a DC-based policy group aiming to reduce inappropriate use or antibiotics, found prescribing rates dropped 17 percent nationally — and 24 percent here in California — from 1999 to 2010.
For a refresher: remember that antibiotics fight bacterial infections; they are useless the common cold or influenza — those are caused by viruses.
Those lower prescribing rates make a difference, not just in avoiding medicines that won’t help you — or could even hurt you. All drugs have side effects, after all. Reduced use of antibiotics means reduced creation of superbugs. “For many pathogens,” said Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of Extending the Cure, “resistance rates are lower in California than other states.” Continue reading