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Why doctors who treat this problem with antibiotics should know better

Bugs Bunny’s signature line, “What’s up, doc?” could probably be changed into a more serious sort of question: “What’s up with doctors and antibiotics?”

According to JAMA, more than 70 percent of patients who visit a doctor just for a case of acute bronchitis leave with an Rx for an antibiotic.

The only problem with that is, over 40 years of studies have shown that antibiotics do absolutely nothing for acute bronchitis. In fact, the condition usually goes away in less than three weeks without taking any drugs.

Of course, doctors ought to know this. The info has been provided to them for 15 years by the CDC. It has also been available for a decade from a medical data reporting service.

They should also be well aware that overuse is causing antibiotics to lose their punch. And as a result, infections we thought we had defeated may now start killing again.

Yet these drugs were routinely prescribed to patients by more than two-thirds of the doctors studied. The use of one antibiotic actually went up by 16 percent.

So, if you get a case of bronchitis, don’t go into your doctor’s office and ask for antibiotics. And hopefully he’ll be up to date with the facts and won’t tell you to take any.

“Way too many doctors are prescribing antibiotics in error, study says” Karen Kaplan, May 20, 2014, The Los Angeles Times,