September 15, 2014 – Pediatric researchers found that 11 million prescriptions for antibiotics in kids may be unnecessary. Pediatricians prescribe antibiotics about twice as often as they're actually needed for children with ear and throat infections, a new study indicates. More than 11 million antibiotic prescriptions written each year for children and teens may be unnecessary, according to researchers from University of Washington and Seattle Children's Hospital. This excess antibiotic use not only fails to eradicate children's viral illnesses, researchers said, but supports the dangerous evolution of bacteria toward antibiotic resistance.
“I think it's well-known that we prescribers overprescribe antibiotics, and our intent was to put a number on how often we're doing that,” said study author Dr. Matthew Kronman, an assistant professor of infectious diseases at Seattle Children's Hospital. “But as we found out, there's really been no change in this [situation] over the last decade,” added Kronman. “And we don't have easily available tools in the real-world setting to discriminate between infections caused by bacteria or viruses.” The study was published online on Sept. 15 in the journal Pediatrics.