Health Team

Doctors More Reluctant to Prescribe Antibiotics

Doctors aren't as quick to prescribe antibiotics as they used to be for common ailments such as colds, sinus pain and ear infections.

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CARY, N.C. — Christie Barber usually gets a bad cold in the winter, but a few months ago, one just wouldn't go away.

"I just had a lot of drainage and pressure, kind of, in the back of my throat," she said.

Her primary care doctor referred her to Rex Hospital ear, nose and throat specialist Dr. John Garside, who gave her an antibiotic.

"People, when they come to the doctor, expect to leave with something to make them feel better," Garside said.

But he only prescribes antibiotics after ruling out other options. He says many doctors use to over-prescribe antibiotics.

"The harm comes more so in what's going on in the community and the development of resistant bacteria," he said.

A study last fall in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed many children with ear infections got better without antibiotics and recovered at the same rate as children with a prescription.

It has fostered a "wait-and-see" approach. If pain caused by bacterial infection persists, then Garside offers an antibiotic.

It helped Barber.

"I mean, the infection's gone, which is the best part, but (I hope) that it continues to go away and get better," she said.

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