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Antibiotics are being overused to treat covid-19 patients, suggests this study

Published on:11 March 2021, 10:53am IST
Research done by Pew Charitable Trusts suggests that more and more antibiotics might be getting used for covid-19 patients.
antibiotics and covid (1)
Antibiotics can weaken your immune system. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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A majority of Covid-19 patients that were admitted to US hospitals during the first few months of the pandemic were prescribed antibiotics even before a bacterial infection had been confirmed, according to a report released on Wednesday.

The study by Pew Charitable Trusts suggests that such drugs were over-prescribed from February through July 2020, as doctors rushed to treat Covid-19 patients when treatment options were sparse.

Antibiotics can disrupt your immune system

“Ultimately, what we’re really concerned about is what the data could mean about the long-term fight against antibiotic resistance,” said David Hyun, project director for Pew’s antibiotic resistance project.

antibiotic and covid-19
Overdose of antibiotics can land you in deep trouble. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The report, which included data from 5,838 hospital admissions, highlights the risk of prescribing antibiotics unnecessarily, which could speed up the emergence of drug-resistant “superbugs.”

Don’t misuse the drug, suggests study

Drug resistance is driven by the misuse and overuse of antibiotics and other antimicrobials, which encourages bacteria to evolve to survive by finding new ways to beat the medicines.

In the Pew study, 52% of hospital admissions resulted in at least one antibiotic being prescribed. In contrast, 20% of those admitted with Covid-19 were diagnosed with a bacterial pneumonia, and 9% were diagnosed with urinary tract infections.

antibiotic and covid-19
Safeguard yourself from antibiotic resistance. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

In 96% of cases, the patient received the first antibiotic within 48 hours of being admitted to a hospital.

The data did show that most patients who were given antibiotics immediately after hospitalization did not receive additional courses after 48 hours, suggesting some progress in efforts to limit overuse of antibiotics.