Ethics in Medicine

Pediatricians Using More Caution With Antibiotics

Kristen Sparrow • November 14, 2012


Schematic for Antibiotics versus bacteria
Use Antibiotics Judiciously!

We have discussed the perils of too many antibiotics in the blog quite a bit, for example here, here, here, and here.  Pediatricians and parents are cutting way back, as this article shows.
Antibiotics Are a Gift to Be Handled With Care
Over the past 15 years or so, spurred by new realizations – and new fears – about the risks of breeding resistant strains of bacteria, pediatricians in the United States have, as a group, cut back dramatically on prescribing antibiotics in situations where they may not be necessary. And parents, as a group, have become less likely to demand them…
Last summer, Dr. Blaser’s group published a study in The International Journal of Obesity in which they analyzed growth data from a large group of British children; those treated with antibiotics when very young (under 6 months) showed increased weight gain by a year of age, and were 22 percent more likely to be overweight at age 3
And a study .. found an association between childhood antibiotic treatment and the later development of inflammatory bowel disease…Children who need antibiotics should get them. But new studies challenge us to think about the effects of antibiotics on the bacterial populations that accompany us through life, and to treat the great gift of antibiotics with deeper understanding and respect.