The GrantWatch blog at Health Affairs has a new post detailing some initiatives from CDDEP's Extending the Cure project: antibiotic use visualizations on ResistanceMap and the Drug Resistance Index. An excerpt of the post is below - read it in its entirety on the GrantWatch blog.
In November, Extending the Cure released data indicating a pattern of antibiotic overuse in certain areas of the United States. States with the highest use of antibiotics (measured by outpatient dispensing, per capita) in 2006–2007 were West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Alabama, but the group says those states are not alone in having high usage of the drugs. Alaska, interestingly, had the lowest use of antibiotics. Overall, however, from 1999 to 2007, antibiotic use actually went down, according to an Extending the Cure press release.
In the interview, Laxminarayan called for changing the social norm in the United States in which parents go into a doctor’s office and request (or even demand) that their child be prescribed an antibiotic for a condition for which it will be ineffective. He notes that in Scandinavia, such a routine with parents requesting and physicians complying is not “okay.” It will be a challenge to change norms in the United States, Laxminarayan maintains, but it “can be overcome.”
NewPublicHealth, a relatively new blog (launched in March 2011), asks Laxminarayan about a recent article in the journal Pediatrics that found that “perhaps ten million unnecessary pediatric antibiotic prescriptions [are] written each year.” He says that he was not surprised by that stat, but that things may be improving because antibiotic prescriptions are down for ear infections—the most common condition for which they are prescribed.
He commends the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Get Smart: Know What Antibiotics Work campaign. Much more could be done to reduce use of antibiotics—for example, if the CDC were better funded.
How Foundations Are Working to Prevent Antibiotic Overuse and Resistance on the Health Affairs GrantWatch blog.