The Health Breakthroughs that Mattered in 2016

Doctors Still Overprescribing Dangerous Drugs
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Leonard Lessin / Getty Images8/10

Doctors Still Overprescribing Dangerous Drugs

Despite guidelines advising against it, physicians are still writing too many scripts for risky drugs that have little chance of benefitting patients. A survey of 5,000 American College of Physicians members pegged antibiotics as the most misused treatments. What’s more, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pew Charitable Trusts, of the 42 million antibiotic prescriptions handed out each year, almost half are for the wrong antibiotic. These drugs won’t necessarily help patients, can even make them sick, and fuel the mounting antibiotic resistance issue. Opioid painkillers, which carry a high risk of dependency, also ranked high on the ACP’s list of low-value treatments. Bottom line: Take charge of your own health, ask plenty of questions about any proposed treatment, and only accept an antibiotic or opiate if you and your doc agree that it’s necessary.

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