Ever since I became a doctor, friends and family have asked me to prescribe antibiotics for them as a favor when they don’t feel quite right and think that they are coming down with something. They don’t want to go to a doctor’s office when they have the flu-like or upper respiratory complaints such as a cough, a runny nose, sinus pain, and many other such miladies. When I have refused to prescribe the requested antibiotic, my routine, they make me feel as if I have betrayed them, after all, it is so simple for me to do it.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria resistant to antibiotics, and at least 23,000 people die as a direct result of antibiotic-resistant infections.

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, CDC Director, points out, “It’s clear that we’re approaching a cliff with antibiotic resistance. But it’s not too late. Clinicians and healthcare systems need to improve prescribing practices. And patients need to recognize that there are both risks and benefits to antibiotics — more medicine isn’t best; the right medicine at the right time is best.”

The above quote was taken from Medscape General Surgery website July 7, 2014 and after reading it, I felt better about turning down my friends and family when they don’t feel well and ask me to prescribe an antibiotic for them. There clearly is some misconception in our society that antibiotics cures the common cold, flu, coughs and sinusitis. FYI, none of my family or friends died or became hospitalized as a result of my turning them down for their requests.

Tags: antibiotic