The CDC is working to improve antibiotic resistance by 50% by 2020.

There are demonstrated concerns over antibiotic resistance driven by antibiotic use, as reported from the WHO.

Studies show that doctors are feeling the pressure to meet patient expectations.

91% of HealthTap doctors agree that reducing unnecessary antibiotics use is an important issue. We asked HealthTap doctors for their opinion on the topic, and here is what they said!

Here is the breakdown on how often our doctors are prescribing:

Of those prescriptions, 67% of doctors noted less than 10% of those prescriptions were unnecessary.

Doctors are unlikely to prescribe in the following scenarios:

  • Possible otitis media (ear pain or history of ear infections, but no otoscopy possible)
  • Viral URI, the patient requests antibiotics and says “I always take zpac to get better”
  • Bad sore throat with no fever or enlarged nodes
  • URI with facial congestion, sinus pain, no fever or tenderness

However, doctors are likely to prescribe if the patient presents with ‘acute onset dysuria, burning, frequency in a young woman who just got a new boyfriend’.


What advice HealthTap doctors are giving their colleagues on how to decrease unnecessary antibiotics use:

HealthTap-Dr. Michael Mascia.png HealthTap-Dr. Marie Trenga.png HealthTap-Dr. David Voran.png
Dr. Michael Mascia Dr. Marie Trenga Dr. David Voran

“I treat others as I would expect to be treated and as I would expect my family members to be treated.  As an intensivist, I see the casualties as they come in from all sectors.  As Physicians, our obligation and job is to “first do no harm” and to “do good”. That being said, it is a good idea to maximize benefit and minimize risk.  Toward that end, I minimize use of invasive therapies and pharmaceuticals and maximize all non pharmacological prophylactic and therapeutic options in each and every case at all times.” – Dr. Michael Mascia

“Have confidence in your clinical judgment. Explain why antibiotics are unnecessary and harmful for viral infections. Working at an urgent care I have found many people respond well to brief but thoughtful comments.”- Dr. Marie Trenga

“What’s interesting is the conversation about non-prescription of antibiotics is getting easier and easier as many patients have been exposed to problems caused by over prescribing.  This is especially true for my pediatric patients.  Their parents often breath a sigh of relief when told their child doesn’t need an antibiotic.” – Dr. David Voran

“Antibiotic resistance is a major issue.  I work in the ICU and when a patient has been exposed to multiple unnecessary antibiotics and now has severe sepsis/septic shock  mortality and morbidity increases.  Ordering antibiotics because a patient requests them is bad medical practice.” – Dr. Mark Safford

“Perform an aerobic culture prior to antibiotic prescription to confirm diagnosis.”- Dr. Elaina George

“I use lab tests to help patients understand why they don’t need antibiotics. I’d get urine tests before treating a UTI, except the rare patient that I know well that has documented treated recurrent honeymoon cystitis. Treatment also depends on age and other factors.”- Dr. Lillian Perez

“In my practice I set the tone. I invest valuable times by having an honest dialogue with my patients. In simple term I tell them that I’d be the first one to recommend an antibiotic if I thought they needed it.”  – Dr. Marie St. Cyr

“Viral prescription, or a viral information sheet.  Add the definition between virus and bacteria, the harms of inappropriate antibiotic use and other ways to treat viral infections including home remedies and OTC medications.” – Dr. Alexis Brown

*content may have been edited for length and clarity*

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