The overuse of antibiotics brings closer the day of the superbug, which is resistant to all antibiotics, researchers fear.
General practitioners (GPs) in the UK have increased their antibiotic prescribing by 40 per cent between 1999 and 2011, researchers at University College London have discovered. Many of the prescriptions were for treating colds and coughs, and also for sore throats-even though the drugs are effective in only 10 per cent of cases.
Overall, 30 per cent of patients are receiving antibiotics that are inappropriate for their condition, and the prescribing goes against national guidelines.
In a survey of 500 clinics, the researchers found that the GPs were prescribing an antibiotic for colds and coughs to 36 per cent of patients in 1999, and to 51 per cent in 2011, a rise of 40 per cent.
The researchers believe that some of this prescribing was caused by patient pressure. Instead, doctors should be exploring alternatives with patients.
(Source: Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 2014; doi: 10.1093/jac/dky.291)