October 4, 2013 in Nation/World

In brief: Antibiotics overprescribed for most sore throats and bronchitis, surveys say

 

San Francisco – Repeated warnings that antibiotics don’t work for most sore throats and bronchitis have failed to stop overuse: Doctors prescribed these drugs for most adults seeking treatment at a rate that remained high over more than a decade, researchers found.

The results are in two analyses of national health surveys from the late 1990s to 2010, representing more than 2 million annual visits to doctors’ offices or emergency rooms.

Antibiotics can have bad side effects, including stomach pain and severe diarrhea, and inappropriate prescriptions put patients at needless risk. The practice also can cause drug-resistant germs.

The findings show reducing inappropriate prescribing “is frustratingly, disappointingly slow,” said Dr. Jeffrey Linder, a physician-researcher at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He did the research with Brigham colleague Dr. Michael Barnett.

The research was presented Thursday at an infectious diseases meeting in San Francisco.

Shutdown postpones TV pitchman’s hearing

Chicago – A television pitchman accused of misleading viewers about his weight-loss books during his late-night infomercials could avoid jail – for now – because of the partial federal government shutdown.

A U.S. judge in Chicago was set to decide today whether to jail Kevin Trudeau, 50, for failing to pay a $37 million civil judgment. But the court agreed to delay the hearing indefinitely after Federal Trade Commission attorneys said they weren’t getting paid.

Trudeau’s case is one of several in the Chicago-area U.S. court system delayed by the shutdown, and courts in the other 93 federal districts around the country have faced similar delays.

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