Why do doctors prescribe antibiotics for viruses?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by WinkOsmosis, Jan 4, 2003.

  1. WinkOsmosis

    WinkOsmosis Banned

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    Why would they do such a thing? Are they stupid?
     
  2. Ladies Man

    Ladies Man Platinum Member

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    so while your immune system is weak another bacteral infections don't invade your system


    but i don't like it... it's better to let them run their course then to take med's cus the next generation of infections are stronger
     
  3. 911paramedic

    911paramedic Diamond Member

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    Old school, they think that if you go to the doctor you should leave with medicine. Younger doctors don't do this as much because of the resistant strains that are popping up because of careless prescriptions.

    If you do get an antibiotic for a good reason TAKE THE ENTIRE PRESCRIPTION.

    Thank you for your time. ;)
     
  4. Mark R

    Mark R Diamond Member

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    Because they aren't sure that it is a virus.
    Because most patients expect a prescription instead of 'go to bed, have a hot drink and take a tylenol'.
    Because some viral infections pre-dispose to getting a bacterial infection.

    These are not particularly good reasons for antibiotics (with the exception of the last in some circumstances)- and antibiotic treatment of minor illnesses, such as sore throat, without good evidence of bacterial infection is frowned upon.

    As has been mentioned earlier, antibiotic resistance is a growing problem, over-prescription of antibiotics is one of the reasons for it. In some ways, resistance is a vicious circle - as physcians discover that their old antibiotics sometimes, don't work, they turn to new ones - sometimes inappropriately - with the result that resistance to these newer drugs is increasing faster than hoped.
     
  5. aircooled

    aircooled Lifer

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    It's a combination of 2 things.. One is the patient wants to leave with a pill that makes them better, the other is the pharmaceutical companies pay the doctors for prescribing certain medications.

    My wife works for a large pharmaceutical company so I know for a fact that there are kick-backs to the doctors, etc.....

    I personally do not take antibiotics unless it's absolutely necessary..

     
  6. dullard

    dullard Elite Member

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    Exactly right. There is a small chance that a bacterial infection can take place if the virus successfully weakens your immune system.

    Also they do it just to please the customers. It is sad how many prescriptions you can get just by asking. My hometown doctor prescribed asthma medicine (including steroids) to anyone who said they were out of breath at anypoint in their life (such as running track). It is easier for them to prescribe a plecebo (antibiotics) than to deal with the patients.

     
  7. 911paramedic

    911paramedic Diamond Member

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    A virus is not effected by antibiotics, they do nothing. Virii have no cures.

     
  8. BigJ

    BigJ Lifer

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    Sums it up pretty well right there. Also it puts some more money into everybodys pocket except yours if they give you a prescription.

     
  9. simms

    simms Diamond Member

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    Yes, but if your immune system is weak, other bacteria may come and invade your weakened system... that's why we take them SOMETIMES.. but not always.
     
  10. Geekbabe

    Geekbabe Moderator Emeritus<br>Elite Member

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    I have asthma that's's been well controlled but when I get upper respiratory infections I often end up with secondary bacterial pnenmonia
    a round of antibotics often ensures that I don't end up really sick.
     
  11. guyver01

    guyver01 Lifer

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    Because as others have said... the virus will severely weaken your immune system,and then other bacterial infections will happen alot stronger.

    i knew someone who had AIDS... he ended up dying of pneumonia...

    the HIV virus weakend his immune system so badly that his body couldn't even fight off a cold.

     
  12. BaliBabyDoc

    BaliBabyDoc Lifer

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    The pharmaceutical industry and popular media have created the pill=cure ethos. Only weak-willed and consumer-minded physicians will give medically-unnecessary prescriptions.

    The only doctors being paid to prescribe certain medications are unethical ones. The majority do not practice quid pro quo medicine but it is a significant problem in the discipline.

    It is an exception NOT the norm to give patients antibiotics as prophylaxis against latent bacterial infections. People with chronic diseases: cystic fibrosis, sickel cell disease, asthma, HIV/AIDS, etc get special consideration b/c best-evidence demonstrates a clear benefit.

    To the contrary the vast majority of upper respiratory infections (sinusitis, rhinitis, pharyngitis) are viral and in otherwise healthy people it is BAD medicine to give antibiotics. Even clear bacterial infections like ear (otitis media) are not treated by the antibiotic neither is strep throat. In both cases antibiotics merely reduce the risk of complications like mastoiditis (which can lead to meningitis) and rheumatic fever from untreated strep.
     
  13. Analog

    Analog Lifer

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    secondary bacterial infection.
     
  14. FoBoT

    FoBoT No Lifer

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    to appease hypocondriacs
     
  15. Kadarin

    Kadarin Lifer

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    The medical/pharmaceutical industry should come up with a placebo "antibiotic" for that purpose. Load it up with vicodin or something so that the patient "feels" like it's working...
     
  16. FoBoT

    FoBoT No Lifer

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    that is a good idea, except you would probably have to tell the patient, which would sorta mess it up

    maybe just give anybody with a virus a shot of heroin to make them not care they are sick
     
  17. db

    db Diamond Member

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    What BaliBabyDoc said.
     
  18. ragazzo

    ragazzo Golden Member

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    Some possibilities:

    * Patients ask for prescriptions for ease of mind.
    * Patients don't have patience.
    * Patients have low tolerance for pain.

    So doctors are somewhat forced to prescribe something. I do agree that most things are better left running their courses, like the common cold or minor infections. Now we have super virus/bacteria running loose.
     
  19. Pliablemoose

    Pliablemoose Lifer

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    What he said...

     
  20. ElFenix

    ElFenix Elite Member<br> Super Moderator<br>Off Topic
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    the agent-client problem
     
  21. Anubis

    Anubis No Lifer

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    to treat the symptons
     
  22. element

    element Diamond Member

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    More info on antibiotic resistance and how it developed here.
     
  23. vegetation

    vegetation Diamond Member

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    Of course, for the millions who don't have any health insurance, they would feel robbed if they left the doctor's office empty handed.
     
  24. BaliBabyDoc

    BaliBabyDoc Lifer

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    I assume you meant to be sarcastic? Decent physicians that felt the need to give antibiotics would give their non-insured (or otherwise financially constrained) patients samples sufficient to cover their treatment. It's one of the few areas where pharmaceutical companies and their minions actually serve the public good.
     
  25. katka

    katka Senior member

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    I have NEVER known or had a Physician who prescribed an antiobiotic for a virus. I highly doubt that there is a financial incentive to do so either, because antibiotic are cheap, not patented, and have many cheap manufacturers. Kickbackscome into play with things like Prozac, which half the world in now on without any notable changes in society :Q. Also, with many of the Advertised patented drugs. If you see a commercial there is probably some financial incentive, as well as some danger to the product.