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Are Hospitals Being Careless with Antibiotics?

The CDC has assessed antibiotic use in hospitals and uncovered some scary statistics. More than half of hospitalized patients get an antibiotic during their stay, but use of these drugs doesn’t always follow recommended guidelines.

More than a third of the time, drugs prescribed for urinary tract infections are given for too long. Sometimes the wrong antibiotic is chosen, or the medication is given without confirming which bacteria are causing the problem. This means that antibiotics are not being carefully matched to the most susceptibe organisms.

The CDC also found that the powerful antibiotic, vancomycin, was being prescribed far too often. Cutting back on inappropriate use would reduce the likelihood of spreading antibiotic resistant infections and in particular Clostridium difficile. Also known as C. diff, this bacterial overgrowth often occurs in the aftermath of antibiotic treatment and can cause dangerous diarrhea. You can learn more about C diff infections and one non-drug method for treating them by listening to our one-hour radio interview on the topic.

[CDC Vital Signs, March 4, 2014]

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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