USA: Antibiotic Overuse in Kids

Posted on November 16, 2011


USA: You’ve probably already seen a version of this report, or heard someone talking about it on your preferred news outlet. The subject: Antibiotic overuse in children. The latest issue of Pediatrics ran the results of a study conducted by Dr. Adam Welsh and a team of researchers from the University of Utah. They revealed that more than 10 million needless antibiotic prescriptions were written for children recently for conditions that don’t even require or respond to antibiotics. The kids got them anyway – which hurts the child and adds to the global threat of antibiotic resistance.

We’re talking broad-spectrum antibiotics here, drugs that save lives and work miracles when they’re properly used. But they’re not harmless and they shouldn’t be doled out like Pez. Antibiotics kills the good with the bad – and they’ve been linked to childhood asthma and, most recently, the obesity epidemic in our kids.

We’ve made progress toward removing antibiotics from our beef and dairy cattle, chickens, and other elements of our food chain. Our farmers got the message and responded,  but our nation’s doctors haven’t.

 This study is particularly timely, because our new program, PEAK 4 Kids™,  addresses this problem through consumer education and monitoring of patient outcomes. We intend to make Missouri a model for remarkable improvement in the childhood asthma epidemic, drastically reduce the volume of unnecessary antibiotics given to our kids, and replicate it nationally.
Note: This study looked at one specific group of physicians – pediatricians. It is flawed by the same problem all research shares – a tightly targeted focus. So, the 10 million prescriptions were written by pediatricians; this staggering number does not include those written by family doctors, general practitioners, urgent care or ER physicians, or PAs. So I wonder what the true number really is?