Home Care Patients May be Victims of Antibiotic Overuse

The potential <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/defective_drugs">overuse of antibiotics in home care patients was suggested in a recent Canadian study published in the June issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, said Science Daily. The researchers warn that increased measures should be taken to monitor antibiotic use in this population to help minimize drug overuse.

We routinely discuss the dangers of antibiotic misuse and overuse and how these practices are directly linked to antibiotic resistant diseases that can wreak havoc on the body. For instance, we often warn about the potential global ramifications connected to antibiotic misuse and overuse.

Antibiotic resistance has become more than just worrisome. Its implications are dangerous, deadly, and here. Misuse of these vital and potent medications are mitigating the worldwide war against infections diseases and rendering existing antibiotics useless, according to a warning recently issued by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Antibiotics overuse and misuse cause bacteria mutate, changing just enough to ensure drugs have no effect on them and allowing them a wide berth to spread with increasing power. Although tempting, preventative antibiotic regimes only worsen the epidemic, strengthening the bacteria. New drugs are not immune because, as new drugs surface, it’s a matter of time before super bugs become resistant to them, too. Tuberculosis, which should have been obliterated years ago; malaria, which is now strain resistant; gonorrhea, which is experiencing growing strain resistance; and hospital-acquired superbugs are all increasing in ferocity, said WHO. Other antibiotic resistant superbugs include drug resistant MRSA, E. coli, and Salmonella, and the list is growing.

The recent study, led by a research team from Ontario’s McMaster University, found that antibiotics prescribed for home care patients are fairly common, with at least 6,800 patients treated with antibiotics in Ontario alone, wrote Web MD. Moreover, data on these patients unearthed some concerning prescribing patterns, said one of the study’s authors, Dr. Mark Loeb, such as that patients under 65 years of age were increasingly likelier to receive antibiotics, pointing to the issue that “physicians may be overly cautious with younger patients,” Loeb said, quoted Science Daily.

On the other end of the spectrum, its seems that patients with greater expected longevity were less likelier to receive antibiotic treatment even if they would have experienced a benefit, versus patients with lower life expectancies, said Science Daily.

“Taken together, our results reveal tremendous variability in how and why antibiotics are prescribed, and that overuse in the home-care population is likely,” Loeb said. “Younger and sicker patients seem to be at added risk for misuse and should be the focus of further study to assess the appropriateness of antibiotic use at home,” he added, quoted Science Daily.

The study also found that the antibiotic group, fluoroquinolones, was the drug class most commonly prescribed. An issue, Science Daily pointed out, because these drugs are often linked to increased drug resistance and reduced general efficacy.

The researchers reviewed medical records on over 125,000 patients in home care for more than two months at some point during 2006 and 2007; data was collected by nurses via “observation, client and family self-reports, and other medical records,” said Science Daily.

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