When dietitians prescribe antibiotics, doctors say they’re not taking patients’ medical needs into account
Dietitians have long said that antibiotics prescribed for people with serious illnesses can be dangerous.
But now the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has said doctors are increasingly using a new and increasingly controversial approach.
In a statement Friday, the NIH said that doctors who prescribe antibiotics to treat chronic illness such as cancer and asthma are taking into account patient preferences, not their medical needs.
“Doctors have a duty to give patients the best possible care and should do so in a manner that provides them with optimal outcomes,” the NIH’s statement said.
“This means not prescribing antibiotics that are likely to cause harm and that are appropriate for a given patient.”
The statement comes as doctors across the country have increasingly said that their patients are getting antibiotics for medical reasons and not to treat their symptoms.
“The evidence suggests that doctors prescribing antibiotics to control a particular illness or condition should be more careful in their prescribing decisions and more sensitive to patient preferences than they are now,” the statement said, noting that many of the prescriptions are for chronic conditions that doctors have previously found were inoperable.
The NIH said doctors have been prescribing antibiotics for more than 50 years, and that it is important to educate doctors on how they should administer the drugs.
The statement did not address the question of how many of those prescriptions are being made under the new guidelines.
In recent years, many doctors have said they have given their patients antibiotics in the form of a single injection or an IV that they could then administer intravenously.
In many cases, doctors have written prescriptions that were not meant to be used in a controlled setting, such as an inpatient setting.
Dr. Jeffrey C. Zumwalt, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said in an interview that the new CDC guidelines do not address doctors who give their patients the drugs intravenously and are not taking into consideration the patient’s symptoms.
Zumwel said it is not surprising that doctors would be prescribing antibiotics because the medications are prescribed for the sole purpose of treating the disease.
But he said there is a concern that doctors are not being careful in how they prescribe antibiotics and are using them to treat some serious illnesses.
“I think it’s really important to understand the implications of the FDA’s new guidelines for doctors,” he said.
In the past, he said, he has seen doctors prescribe antibiotics in combination with steroids for cancer patients, a combination that may cause side effects, but could also help the patient.
Zomwalt said that he thinks that physicians are not always looking at their patients’ symptoms, their medical history and their underlying medical conditions when they are prescribing antibiotics.
In general, he believes that physicians should give patients what they need and not prescribe antibiotics for a specific purpose, Zomwel added.
“There are a lot of things that we need to look at,” he added.
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