What Are the Consequences of Prescribing Unnecessary Antibiotics?

Lauri A. Hicks, DO, Director, Office of Antibiotic Stewardship, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, discusses the potential consequences of prescribing unneeded antibiotics.

Lauri A. Hicks, DO, Director, Office of Antibiotic Stewardship, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, discusses the potential consequences of prescribing unneeded antibiotics.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

“I would say that there are potential [unfortunate] consequences of prescribing antibiotics when they’re not needed. We know that antibiotics have great benefit when they’re needed, but when they’re not needed, there are potential adverse events.

Some of those include very mild events or very mild side effects, like diarrhea [or] rash, but they could be more severe, like a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening. Then, one of the more common adverse events that we’re really concerned about, especially in dentistry, is Clostridium difficile infections; it is a potentially deadly form of diarrhea and we see it very frequently with certain antibiotics like Clindamycin, which is a common antibiotic used in dentistry. So, even one dose of an antibiotic that’s not needed could potentially lead to a severe outcome.”