Study Examines Non-Prescription Use of Antibiotics in U.S.

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One in 20 hold onto and use old, leftover meds
One in 20 hold onto and use old, leftover meds

(HealthDay News) — One in every 20 adults have used antibiotics without a doctor's guidance, according to a study published online July 11 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

Larissa Grigoryan, M.D., an instructor in Family and Community Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and colleagues randomly selected and surveyed 400 adults treated at diverse family practice clinics across the Houston area.

Of these patients, 5 percent said they had used antibiotics without a prescription in the past year. The researchers also found that one in every four patients (25.4 percent) surveyed admitted that they would use any antibiotics on hand, without contacting the doctor first. Overall, 14.2 percent of the adults polled said they kept a supply of antibiotics in their home. Most of these drugs were saved from prior prescriptions. Of the antibiotics used without a prescription or stored for future use, sources included stores or pharmacies, vendors outside of the United States, medication supplied by friends or family members, and medication left over from previous prescriptions.

"Patients from public primary care clinics, those with less education, and younger patients had a higher risk of [non-prescription] use in our survey," Grigoryan's team writes.

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