Physicians understand that drug-resistant bacteria cannot be remedied by antibiotics, yet the number of patients mistreated with antibiotics in America is increasing so quickly that federal officials have designed two programs to help correct the problem.
The programs, put in to place by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are two-fold. The first initiative electronically tracks antibiotic use at 70 different hospitals. The second effort focuses on practical strategies to ensure antibiotics are given in a timely and appropriate manner. This will involve a total of eight hospitals.
“Antibiotic resistance is a patient care problem that has impacted people on a global level, with at least 50 percent of antibiotic use in American hospitals being labeled as inappropriate,” as reported in “The Washington Post.”
The Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy had found that hospitals that show highest antibiotic use are West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana and Alabama. The nonprofit organization gathered results from data provided by a consulting firm that tracks pharmaceutical sales.
Stronger doses of antibiotics are generally used in hospital settings versus physicians’ offices. Dispensing medicines with higher potency enables hospital physicians and outsourced physicians, especially those treating patients in emergency rooms, to more effectively cure the wide range of infections in patients.
“Unlike drugs prescribed in doctors’ offices, antibiotics given in hospitals are generally stronger, ‘cover more bugs’ and, as a result, raise more concerns about resistance,” said Sara Cosgrove, an infectious disease physician at Johns Hopkins Medical Center.
Another setback when patients misuse antibiotics, or use them too often, is that potentially treatable illnesses become more difficult, and sometimes even impossible, to fight.
“What we know from study after study is that antibiotics are given when they are not needed, or given for too long, or in the wrong dose,” said Arjun Srinivasan, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.