New Study Claims Doctors Overprescribe Antibiotics

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WATCH New Study Claims Doctors Overprescribe Antibiotics

A new study on the overuse of antibiotics revealed that 47 million prescriptions each year are medically unnecessary.

The research was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pew Charitable Trust.

Health officials have been warning for decades about the overuse of antibiotics and here are concrete numbers, as Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News’ chief health and medical editor, stopped by “Good Morning America” today to break it all down.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, analyzed antibiotic prescribing in 2010 and 2011 and found there was an antibiotic prescribed in 154 million doctor visits.

“But 30 percent of those prescriptions were for conditions where antibiotics don’t work or only work sometimes and the main ones were sinus infections, ear infections, throat infections and bronchitis,” Besser told “GMA” co-anchor Robin Roberts.

“The big concern is we’re seeing this big rise in antibiotic-resistant infections, so when you take an antibiotic when it’s not giving you any benefit, you risk that the next time you take that antibiotic, it’s not going to work for you,” he added. “Plus, you’re at risk for the side effects of antibiotics: rashes, diarrhea and, for women, yeast infections.”

Instead of asking for an antibiotic, Besser advised, ask yourself, “What can I do to feel better faster?”

“[There’s] studies that show that -- ‘Did you ask for an antibiotic?’ -- doctors [are] more likely to give it to you, even if it’s not indicated. And believe me, doctors will prescribe one if it’s indicated,” Besser said. “But, they feel they want you to be happy and so they’re going to prescribe that antibiotic sometimes where it’s not indicated.”