A new study has found that the children are prescribed antibiotics by the pediatricians more often they actually need it.
According to the researchers, the doctors prescribe antibiotics to the children with ear and throat infection about twice as often as they are actually required by them.
The researchers at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital carried the study and discovered that more than 11 million antibiotic prescriptions are written each year by the doctors for children and teens that may be unnecessary for them.
Study author Dr. Matthew Kronman said, “I think it is well-known that we prescribers overprescribe antibiotics and our intention was to put a number on how often we are doing that.”
“But we came to know that there has been really no change in this situation over the last decade. And we don’t have easily available tools in the real-world setting to discriminate between infections caused by bacteria or viruses,” said Kronman, who works at Seattle Children’s Hospital as an assistant professor of infectious diseases.
According to the researchers, the excess use of antibiotics in children not only fails to eradicate viral illnesses in them but also assists the bacteria’s evolution toward antibiotic resistance.
To find out the actual figures for antibiotic prescribing rates, Kronman and his colleagues reviewed some English-language studies that were published from 2000 to 2011 and also analysed the data of children of 18-year of age and younger who were examined in outpatient clinics.
The researchers estimated that about 27 percent of the American children with infections of ear, throat, sinus area and upper respiratory tract had illnesses that were caused by bacteria.
Researchers found that the antibiotics were prescribed for these infections for nearly 57 percent of visits at the doctor.
The findings have been published online in the journal Pediatrics on Monday.