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Antibiotics Frequently Used in Flu — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
July 18, 2014

Antibiotics Frequently Used in Flu

By Kelly Young

Edited by André Sofair, MD, MPH, and William E. Chavey, MD, MS

Patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza in 2012-2013 commonly received antibiotic treatment, according to a study in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Roughly 6800 patients aged 6 months and older presenting with acute respiratory infection at five U.S. clinics were tested for influenza with real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Of patients most likely to benefit from antivirals (e.g., presenting within 2 days of symptom onset and having PCR-confirmed influenza), 28% received an antiviral and 24% received an antibiotic.

Reader Comments (1)

Michael Loren, MD Physician, Allergy/Immunology, Lees Summit MO

The implication of the study is how foolish we are in prescribing antibiotics with viral infections. Can antibiotics be indicated when a known viral infection may result in secondary bacterial illness such as sinus infections or pneumonia? With an ill patient how smart are we in waiting or in pulling the trigger?

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