Antibiotics Found Useless for Most Cases of Bronchitis

By Michael Dorausch, D.C. news staff

Virginia: There is no evidence antibiotics do any good for the great majority of patients suffering with acute bronchitis, and medical doctors should cease routinely prescribing them, according to recent reports by university researchers.

Acute bronchitis, an inflammation of the main airways to the lungs, is primarily caused by viruses that infect the respiratory system. There are a number of different respiratory viruses that can be involved, including rhinovirus, which is related to the common cold. Acute bronchitis is one of the most common conditions seen in a medical doctor’s office. Classic acute bronchitis symptoms may mimic a cold and may include a tickle in the back of the throat that progresses into a dry, irritating cough.

The research appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine and was conducted by two Virginia Commonwealth university doctors. Researchers did an extensive review of past research studies and former clinical trials, discovering no evidence to support prescribing antibiotics for acute or short-term bronchitis.

Why would acute bronchitis not respond to antibiotics? One does not have to be a scientific research guru to know that antibiotics are typically ineffective when applied to viral infections. Simply doing a google search for “antibiotics ineffective” we find top results that include… Antibiotics ineffective for many ear infections: study, Antibiotics Ineffective for Common Childhood Illnesses, and 25% of Prescribed Antibiotics Ineffective.

While it is well known in the medical community that viral infections typically do not respond well to antibiotics, an estimated 70 to 80 percent of patients seen with an acute bronchitis diagnosis are prescribed a ten day course of antibiotics, according to the research. That’s a lot of drugs being prescribed un-necessarily. Not only do unneeded antibiotics raise the costs of healthcare for all, antibiotics have side effects that can include fungal infections of the mouth, rash, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and digestive tract problems, just to name a few.

Misuse of antibiotics also increases ones risk of encountering disease-causing microbes that have become resistant to drug therapy and have become hard to treat with antibiotic drugs. According to the FDA website “Facts About Antibiotic Resistance” page, unless antibiotic resistance problems are detected as they emerge, and actions are taken to contain them, the world could be faced with previously treatable diseases that have again become un-treatable, as in the days before antibiotics were developed.

Consumers should consider doing their own research before taking any drug since medical doctors are often “too busy” to take the time and explain that an antibiotic may not be helpful or effective, and could possibly be dangerous. Maybe taking antibiotics is not such a good idea after all, as there are many ways people can improve and maintain their health naturally.

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