Scientists from the University of Maryland found that about 70% of primary care physicians reported in a survey that they would still prescribe antibiotics to treat asymptomatic infections based solely on a positive urine specimen.
This is despite long-held medical guidelines recommending against this practice.
The research is published in JAMA Network Open and was conducted by Jonathan Baghdadi et al.
Since 2005, medical organizations have been advocating against the routine use of antibiotics to treat patients who have bacteria detected in a urine culture but no symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI) like burning or frequent urination.
Overwhelming evidence indicates that the medications are not helpful for asymptomatic patients and could lead to adverse health effects like diarrhea, vomiting, rashes, and yeast infections.
Antibiotics can, in rare cases, cause death due to an overgrowth of the dangerous bacteria C. difficile in the colon.
Overuse of these drugs has also contributed to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections that are difficult to treat and sometimes deadly.
In the study, the team surveyed 723 primary care clinicians from Texas, the Mid-Atlantic, and the Pacific Northwest regarding their approach to a hypothetical patient with asymptomatic bacteriuria.
This is a condition where bacteria are detected in the urine of a patient without any UTI symptoms.
The team found that 71% of clinicians, 392 out of the 551 who completed the survey, would opt to treat such a patient with antibiotics even though such treatment goes against the recommended guidelines.
Family medicine physicians were more likely to prescribe antibiotics unnecessarily compared to other specialties.
Physicians who were in residency training or who resided in the Pacific Northwest were less likely to prescribe antibiotics.
The study suggests that primary care clinicians do not follow widely accepted recommendations against prescribing antibiotics for asymptomatic bacteriuria.
If you care about antibiotics, please read studies that yogurt may prevent diarrhea caused by antibiotics, and these common antibiotics linked to higher colon cancer risk.
For more information about health, please see recent studies about common high blood pressure drug that may prevent COVID-19 complication, and results showing this pain reliever linked to hip fracture in old people.
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