(Robert Preidt/ HealthDay) — Nearly half of antibiotic prescriptions for U.S. Medicaid patients appear to be inappropriate, new research suggests.
That kind of overprescribing raises risks for everyone, experts say, as bacteria gain more chances to mutate around the life-saving drugs.
For the study, researchers analyzed 298 million antibiotic prescriptions filled by 53 million Medicaid patients between 2004 and 2013. They found that 45% were ordered without any clear rationale.
Specifically, 17% were prescribed at an office visit in which the patient wasn’t diagnosed with a bacterial infection, and 28% were prescribed without an office visit.
“Indiscriminate use of antibiotics is increasing the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and rendering them ineffective,” said senior author Dr. Jeffrey Linder, chief of general internal medicine and geriatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago. (…)