Do you pressure your doctor for antibiotics?

Antibiotics by Michael Mortensen via Flickr

“Health officials are asking for the public’s help in combating antibiotic-resistant microbes,” writes MPR News reporter Lorna Benson.

“Nationwide there have been an estimated 9,300 cases annually of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, known as CRE, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Minnesota has so far tallied 93 cases, half of them since December. Twelve resulted in death.”

CREs pose an “urgent” threat to public health according to a new list of 18 superbugs released by the CDC today.

State epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Lynfield said the spread of the superbug and others is alarming because the prospect for new antibiotics is limited.

“We really, really have to take seriously antimicrobial stewardship and infection prevention, and do everything we can to prevent the transmission of these resistant bacteria, and everything we can to increase the lifespan of our antibiotics,” she said.

According to the CDC, healthy people typically do not contract CRE infections. They commonly occur among patients in healthcare facilities. Those most at risk include those who use ventilators, urinary or intraveneous catheters and those who are taking long courses of antibiotics.

Lynfield said a surveillance project in the St. Cloud area confirmed more than 1,400 cases of another superbug, C. difficile, over a four-year period. The bacterium causes severe diarrhea and was linked to 23 deaths.

Antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea cases also are continuing to increase.

Lynfield said Minnesotans should not pressure doctors for antibiotics. But if antibiotics are needed, she said, it’s important to take the medication as directed, and not save it for a future illness.

“Everybody has to take this seriously,” she said. “This really needs to be a wakeup call because it takes everyone in the community to make a dent in this issue.”

Today’s Question: Do you pressure your doctor for antibiotics?

  • Sue de Nim

    No, because I understand the issue, and I try to act on valid science rather than irrational fears. That’s also why my kids have all their vaccinations, and why I think we should do something about greenhouse gasses.

    • John

      Greenhouse gasses and antibiotics? Don’t see the link.

      • JQP

        simple science-data based decision making….. kinda funny that you asked.

  • PaulJ

    Antibiotic usefulness is another scarce resource that has to be managed, so I don’t doc bug.

  • Doug Duwenhoegger

    People have doctors that they see when they aren’t dying? What sort of utopia is this?

  • JQP

    No – I get them from the feed lot. Those dudes hand out anti-biotics to cows, sheep, pigs, horses like rain drops in a thunderstorm.

  • killershrew

    I’ve never begged a doctor for antibiotics, but I have found that the docs at my clinic are incredibly hesitant to prescribe them. During the worst sinus infection of my life, a doctor at my urgent care clinic gave me a really mild antibiotic to take for 5 days. It helped clear up the infection, but didn’t totally knock it out. So a little over a week after the antibiotics ended, the infection flared back up again. I went back to urgent care, where I explained what had happened to another doctor. Her response was to throw a sinus irrigation pamphlet at me and then leave the room without much discussion. A couple days later, after my symptoms continued to get worse, I went to the minute clinic up the street. There, a kind doc thoroughly checked my symptoms and then prescribed some antibiotics that were strong enough to kill the thing for good.

    I’ve actually stopped going to my urgent care for sinus infections because of this experience. I’m well aware of antibiotic misuse and I do actually wait until my symptoms become pretty extreme before seeking help from a doctor. If I’m going to go in, I want the doc to at least seriously check out my symptoms.

  • Rich in Duluth

    I rely on my doctor’s advise about any medications I take. I see him as my hired expert who has much more background knowledge about medicine than I will ever have.

    It seems to me that this is a very serious issue that has been going on for years. And neither the medical industry nor the agricultural industry have voluntarily succeeded in solving it.

    Maybe it’s time for government regulation to step in and control how these medications are used.

  • Jim G

    No… However, I always follow the doctor’s instructions to take all the antibiotic pills I’m given even if I’m feeling better after a few days.

    At the beginning of August, I caught a bug in my upper respiratory system. By the fourth day it was apparent I was not getting any better and frankly, I hadn’t felt that sick for quite some time. At the polite urging of my wife… OK she did mention that a college graduate should know when to go to the doctor, I went to Urgent Care where I had an x-ray and a blood test to determine the cause of my malaise. Was it a virus or bacteria? That is always the question. The Physicians Asst. prescribed an expensive antibiotic, which I paid for out of my own pocket because I have not yet met the limit of my high deductible health insurance policy. They said that if I started to feel better within 48 hours the bug was probably a bacterium.
    Yep, right on schedule I started to feel better, and I continued the 10-day course of treatment. I was feeling much better for a week and then the same symptoms returned. I experienced a relapse, however this time I went back in to the clinic, to my regular doctor, without my wife’s urging. He reviewed the records and gave me a 5-day pack of antibiotics that cost a fifth as much as the expensive antibiotic I had taken previously, and it worked. Again, right on time I started feeling better. I’m still coughing a bit after exercise and I’ll go in to my regular doctor again if I need to.

    These super microbes are very scary. Before the invention of penicillin, one of the biggest causes of death was infectious diseases. In addition, thank goodness I have insurance. It looks like Obama Care is coming on-line just in time for the millions of Americans who will need insurance at affordable rates to get the treatments, medications, and care that will save lives..

  • JenJen

    No. Never.

  • Pearly