Nearly 50% of Seniors Given Unnecessary Antibiotics

Nearly 50% of Seniors Given Unnecessary Antibiotics

Many seniors are prescribed antibiotics for nonbacterial respiratory infections, a practice that researchers say is troubling since it leaves them susceptible to avoidable adverse drug events and contributes to antibiotic-resistant infections.

Antibiotics are ineffective against these type of illnesses.

Researchers examined data from nearly 9,000 primary care physicians in Ontario, Canada and their prescribing to seniors aged 66 and older who visited them for a nonbacterial infection. About 53% were diagnosed with the common cold, and 31% had bronchitis. The rest had sinusitis or laryngitis.

Doctors prescribed an antibiotic to 46% of these patients, researchers reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine. And the most of the prescriptions — 70% — were for broad-spectrum antibiotics, which are linked to a higher risk of adverse events such as diarrhea, heart problems and allergic reactions.

In addition, physicians who were practicing for at least 10 years, those who saw a high volume of patients and those who trained outside the US and Canada were most likely to prescribe an antibiotic in this situation.


Jonathan Block

Jonathan Block

Jonathan Block is an associate editor at BioCentury, which provides news and information about the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Prior to joining BioCentury in 2019, Jonathan worked for MedShadow as content editor. He has been an editor and writer for multiple pharmaceutical, health and medical publications, including The Pink Sheet, Modern Healthcare, Health Plan Week and Psychiatry Advisor. He holds a BA from Tufts University and is earning an MPH with a focus on health policy from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy.


Did you find this article helpful?


Latest News

Breaking News – EpiPen Malfunction

Breaking News – EpiPen Malfunction

Just released from the FDA – Pfizer has informed the FDA that they are aware of several continuing problems that people are having using the EpiPen (epinephrine) and EpiPen Jr (epinephrine) auto-injectors and generic versions. Some of the problems are from user error and some from EpiPen malfunction. Here are…

ACE Inhibitors in the Time of Coronavirus

ACE Inhibitors in the Time of Coronavirus

Are you worried about ACE inhibitors and coronavirus? You may be hearing that one of the entry methods for the coronavirus in humans is by attaching to the ACE-2 enzyme. This has raised alarms among those with heart disease who use ACE inhibitors (with names ending in -pril, such as…

  • Advertisement