More than half of all hospital patients receive an antibiotic. These drugs are not only overprescribed in hospitals, but also poorly prescribed, which can put patients at risk.
A Centers for Disease Control report released in March shows that some clinicians prescribe antibiotics three times as much as clinicians in other hospitals, even when patients were receiving similar kinds of care.
"Today's antibiotics are miracle drugs," says Arjun Srinivasan, MD, medical epidemiologist and medical director of for the CDC's Get Smart program for Healthcare. But their misuse is liked to preventable allergic reactions, super-resistant infections, and C. Diff, which can be deadly.
Antibiotic overprescription is not a new problem. Clinicians have long felt pressured to prescribe antibiotics inappropriately. Sometimes, they feel they don't have time to view test results or even perform testing prior to prescribing. Other times they feel pressured by patients to "do something."