Overuse of Antibiotics: Side Effects & Resistance

WiseCare Medical Experts Explain Why Overuse of Antibiotics Causes Resistance & Side Effects

Overuse of Antibiotics is a concern for many providers in our community. It is important to understand that antibiotics are not effective for the common cold, which is viral for the vast majority of people suffering.

This is why it is so important to only use antibiotics when they are needed and to use the right antibiotic for the minimum effective duration.

Any time antibiotics are used, they can cause side effects and lead to antibiotic resistance.

Common side effects of antibiotics can include:

More serious side effects may include life-threatening allergic reactions and Clostridium difficile infection, which causes diarrhea that can lead to severe colon damage and death.

Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them and can make infections harder to treat.

When antibiotics are prescribed for sinus infections, only 5 to 7 days of therapy are needed for uncomplicated cases, when patients start to recover within a few days of starting treatment and if they don’t have signs that the infection has spread beyond the sinuses, according to the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA).

How Guidelines Have Changed Recommended Use of Antibiotics

These guidelines are relatively new, however, and it’s possible some of the longer courses of antibiotics prescribed in the study occurred because not all doctors have absorbed the new practice recommendations. This might explain why many patients request antibiotics for longer periods of time; however, it can lead to overuse of antibiotics.

Prior to 2012, the IDSA recommended 10 to 14 days of antibiotics for sinus infections in adults.

In the study, no penicillin or tetracycline prescriptions were for 5-day courses and only 5% of prescriptions were for 7-day courses of penicillins, tetracyclines or fluoroquinolones.

It’s also possible that in some cases, doctors prescribed antibiotics for 10 days or longer and instructed patients to stop after 5 to 7 days unless they were still experiencing symptoms.

One pitfall in this approach is that when patients improve slowly, it’s possible they’re infected with organisms that are resistant to the antibiotic they got prescribed, and they would recover faster if they switched to a different antibiotic instead of continuing the current one longer.

Older, acute bacterial sinusitis guidelines were written with the belief that if antibiotics were taken for shorter durations of time, that the bacteria would not be completely eradicated and that would risk persistent, recurrent and antibiotic resistant infections.

Recommendations have changed on this because subsequent studies have shown the opposite is true, that in fact if the patient is responding to treatment, 5 to 7 days is safe and is usually enough. A longer treatment is not usually needed and can lead to overuse of antibiotics.

WiseCare is Here for You

If you have questions about antibiotics, or overuse of antibiotics our Board Certified physicians are available 7 days a week to provide answers. At WiseCare, patients of all ages receive customized treatment. Feel free to walk-in for urgent care. Or, you may schedule a non-urgent medical appointment by calling 410.255.7900 today.

Examples of non-urgent medical appointments include: primary care, vaccinations, physicals, employment screenings, x-rays and labs.

What Makes WiseCare Different?

Our Severna Park and Pasadena medical centers offer a vast array of services not typically offered by other urgent care centers in our communities.

All services are provided by our caring, board-certified physicians and physician assistants. Our highly trained professional staff is focused on putting you at ease about your medical needs for patients of all ages.

WiseCare treats patients of all ages and offers quality medical care 7 days a week both in Severna Park and Pasadena. Patients residing in Anne Arundel County count on us for quality, quick medical care.

In addition to urgent care, WiseCare can also serve as a “medical home” whenever you have non-urgent medical needs.

Our premier medical center offer primary care, pediatric care, urgent care, physicals, vaccinations, x-rays, in-house lab testing, IV fluid hydration, immigration physicals, occupational medicine, DOT physicals, drug screening DOT and non-DOT, travel vaccines, FAA medical exams, and more.

You Might Also Enjoy...

What to Do About a Concussion

When cartoons get hit in the head, little stars circle above the dazed character. That’s not far from the truth. Head injuries — concussions — can make you see “stars,” confuse you, and make you nauseous. Here’s what to do.

How (and Why) to Stay Hydrated Through the Winter

You might think that sweating through the summer poses the biggest threat to hydration, but the winter can leave you fighting the effects of dehydration as well. Here’s our advice on how to stay hydrated during the winter and why it’s so important.

How is Pink Eye Treated?

Late nights, smoky rooms, and crying jags can all leave your eyes red and irritated. But when those symptoms won’t go away or worsen, it might be pink eye, which is highly contagious. Here’s how to treat it.

Signs of an Infected Cut

The slip of a kitchen knife, a bad fall — any accident can cause a cut. And the pain is bad enough, but if you get an infection, too, the complications can become severe. Find out how to spot the signs of trouble.

When Should I Go to Urgent Care?

When you’re sick or in pain, you weigh your options: Treatment at home isn’t working, but it’s not quite an emergency, so what do you do? Maybe it’s a case for urgent care, a great way to bridge the health care gap.