Study: Children prescribed unnecessary antibiotics by the millions

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(KTVI)-A new study shows pediatricians may be prescribing antibiotics twice as often as they’re actually needed for children with ear and throat infections. Researchers from the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital say more than eleven million antibiotic prescriptions written each year may be unnecessary.

They say the excess antibiotic use not only fails to get rid of any of the children’s viral illnesses, but also supports the dangerous evolution of bacteria toward antibiotic resistance.

A rapid strep test is available to distinguish between bacterial or viral throat infections. But research shows, other than that, physicians have no other clinical tools to tell the cause of most upper respiratory infections.

Researchers hope the study will spur the development of more ways to tell the difference and encourage doctors to think more critically about prescribing antibiotics.

The study was published online Monday in the journal “Pediatrics.”