Dangers of nonprescription antibiotic use

Larissa Grigoryan, M.D., Ph.D., MPH, MSc (320x240)
Larissa Grigoryan, M.D., Ph.D., MPH, MSc

Although antibiotics are essential medications for treatment of bacterial diseases, there can be serious consequences if they are misused. Using antibiotics without medical guidance can not only lead to an incorrect drug dosage and health risks but to a spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

A scoping review performed by faculty at Baylor College of Medicine, the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety (IQuESt), University of Pennsylvania and Boston University School of Medicine discovered several methods that people use to get antibiotics without a prescription. The researchers reviewed 31 studies that tracked nonprescription antibiotic use in the United States since the year 2000.

“It all started from a 2016 study that we did here in Houston in our public and private primary care clinics, where we found that about 25 percent of the patients who were waiting to see their doctors in their clinics said that they use antibiotics without prescription and without consulting their providers,” said Dr. Larissa Grigoryan, an assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Baylor and the lead author of the study. “Afterward, we thought we should do a scoping review to summarize the evidence about this topic in the United States, and we realized it’s mostly an unexplored topic.”

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