Hat tip to MRSA Notes for this one. An study published in JAMA suggests that by telling parents to wait 48 hours to fill scripts for ear infection, physicians can help curb antibiotic overuse in children. It’s not a bad idea, and it’s something that I’ve often thought about myself. As a child I had chronic ear infections until the age of 10 when I stopped consuming dairy products. I had tubes six times. Throughout that time in my life I was averaging around one ear infection per month. In my case, waiting a day or two didn’t do anything except make things worse.
Ironically, I’m sitting here now and I’ve got an ear infection in my left ear that I’m currently taking antibiotics for. Even more messed up is that I got the infection while on a 7 day regiment of Levaquin and Flagyl. (That’s whack, eh?) Anyway, when I was a kid I wondered what people did before antibiotics. Did they go deaf? Did they walk around with chronic ear pain? Did their eardrums burst? None of my infections ever went away on their own, so I thought they stuck around until you made them go away with drugs.
Of course I know better now, and it warms the concerned medical professional and microbiology enthusiast in me to see experts pushing for moderation in antibiotic use.
Out of 238 patients aged 6 months to 12 years brought to a hospital emergency room complaining of ear infections, two-thirds of the parents who were told to wait ultimately did not fill their prescriptions.
The group that did not fill the prescriptions recovered at the same rate as children who had prescriptions filled right away, an indication the condition often clears up on its own.
Those are some impressive findings. But it doesn’t get past the sense of entitlement that patients have when then visit a doctor’s office. People often want antibiotics now because germs are bad, mmkay? Why else would we have all these alcohol-based antibiotic cleansers on the market that we see so heavily advertised on TV? Surely it’s more than marketing…
[tags]Medicine, pharmacy, antibiotics, ear infections[/tags]