A new report finds Iowa pediatricians are over-prescribing antibiotics. Dr. Mary Davis is a vice president at Wellmark, the insurance company which released the analysis. Davis says prescribing a “broad-spectrum” antibiotic like Zithromax when it’s not needed is worrisome because kids can develop a resistance to the drug, so it won’t work to cure them when they really need it.Davis says cultural attitudes need to change and there needs to be discussions about when an antibiotic is needed and when it’s not. Davis says Americans have an expectation that they should never be sick, but she says sometimes getting a cold or the flu is the body’s way of telling us to stop, take a break and get some rest. Davis says if you take care of yourself early on during a sick spell, chances are you’ll get better without having to go to the doctor or taking an antibiotic that may or may not be helpful. Davis says it’s all about making decisions to take better care of ourselves and our children when we’re sick, and not resorting to the “quick out.” One Davenport doctor has said Zithromax is “being prescribed like water for acute bronchitis, which is viral and can’t be treated with antibiotics anyway.” The Centers for Disease Control reports that over half the antibiotics physicians prescribe are unnecessary. The Wellmark report shows the rate of Zithromax prescriptions in Iowa is above the national average. In cities like Fairfield, Osage, Sac City, Spirit Lake and Winterset, the prescription rate for the drug is twice the national average.
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