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Millions of kids' antibiotic Rx's unneeded: study

Pediatricians write more than 10 million unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions -- for conditions like the flu and asthma -- every year, suggests a new study.

Those ailments, and others not caused by bacteria, don't respond to the drugs. But misuse of antibiotics contributes to drug resistance -- so those same medications might not work in the future when they're really needed.

"Antibiotics are wonderful. There are times you really need them, the question is just being judicious about when we use them," said Betsy Foxman, an epidemiologist at the University of Michigan School of Public Health in Ann Arbor who was not involved in the research.

The new study involved a nationally-representative sample of almost 65,000 outpatient visits by kids under 18 in 2006 through 2008. Using medical codes, researchers were able to determine the type of diagnosis kids were given, as well as what kind of drugs, if any, they were prescribed.
 
 

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