Approximately one-third to one-half of all antibiotic prescriptions are not needed. Many health care providers report feeling pressured by worried parents or patients to prescribe antibiotics. Rather than take the time to explain why an antibiotic isn’t needed, it may be easier to write a prescription. They also may not be sure whether an infection is caused by a bacterium or virus. In some cases, laboratory tests, such as for strep throat, can be helpful, but again require extra time and sometimes a second visit for the patient.
MARR offers free materials for download, and also free educational programs that will help the healthcare provider easily explain to a patient why an antibiotic may not be necessary. Many patients do not know what antibiotic resistance is and how it could affect them. These materials may help create a dialogue between the patient and provider about the differences between a virus and bacterial infection, when an antibiotic is appropriate, and the dangers of antibiotic resistance, including why taking an antibiotic for a viral infection can cause more harm than good.
Clinical PEARLS to avoid unnecessary use of antibiotics Guideline Compendia for Adult and Pediatric Upper Respiratory Infections