As a patient, you trust your physician explicitly. You assume that your doctor will take the time to accurately diagnose you and only prescribe medications when they are necessary. You have most likely heard about the overuse of antibiotics on the news and if you are like most, you have thought nothing of it. But, overuse of antibiotics is much more harmful than you may realize – and doctors are overprescribing for more reasons than one.
Antibiotics are an easier option for medical providers, because instead of running costly diagnostic tests, they can use a single course of pills to treat a large variety of symptoms. In some cases, physicians will just assume there is an infection of some sort and prescribe – even if the patient doesn’t exhibit all symptoms required.
What are the Harmful Effects of Antibiotic Overuse?
Antibiotics have their use in medical treatments, but when prescribed incorrectly or too often, a person could suffer from serious conditions. Some problems associated with chronic overuse include:
- System Toxicity – Ototoxicity occurs when the body is full of toxins due to too much antibiotics. It is a severe condition.
- Kidney Toxicity – Nephrotoxicity is caused by the overuse of antibiotics, which leads to toxic collections in the kidneys and can cause harm or damage (permanently) to those kidneys.
- C Diff Infections – Your body requires a proper level of bacteria in the digestive system in order to breakdown food and waste. Using antibiotics too much can create an overabundance of this bacteria known as clostridium difficile. You could notice symptoms such as diarrhea. For children and the elderly, this is a life-threatening condition.
- Reduced Effectiveness – Antibiotics promote resistance in some strains and can actually reduce their effectiveness over time when used too often. This is especially true when bacteria infections become resistant and create superbugs.
Avoiding the Overuse of Antibiotics is the Only Way
A physician needs to be responsible any time they are prescribing a medication to a patient. Patients can also assist by informing their doctors about their symptoms and asking for an assessment before just taking a prescription. If you have concerns about any medication, speak to your doctor about those concerns.
It is also important for patients to realize that antibiotics are not always necessary. There are some viral infections that are often treated with antibiotics just to please patients – including the common cold and flu. This is not a good practice and can lead to overuse and superbug generation. There are infections out there that your body can treat naturally and, therefore, you should allow your body to do so.
In the case of potential malpractice, an investigation will need to be done by an attorney. An attorney will assess the facts of your case and see if the physician did over-prescribe or cause harm with antibiotics. An expert attorney at Berkowitz and Hanna LLC can assess your particular case and help determine if you have a valid claim. Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation. Call (203) 487-5716 or contact us online to get started.