WATCH: The disturbing findings on overuse of antibiotics


Transcript for The disturbing findings on overuse of antibiotics

????????? ?????? Welcome back to “Gma.” In today’s “Weekend download,” the disturbing findings on antibiotics abuse. A new study found that 25% of descriptions are unnecessary in the United States and the study looked at more than 15 million antibiotic prescriptions. Joining us to talk about it is ABC’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Jen Ashton and it is very important. Yep. People get confused but you’re going to walk us through three ways to understand the issue and the first is bugs. Explain. So in medical school, what we call this, bugs and drugs and talk about the organisms that cause infections. When you talk about writing antibiotic prescriptions, you really want focus on the difference between bacterial and viral infections. Now, let me show you what I mean. If you go head to toe and talk about common infections, let’s say pink eye, most of the time in adults this is mostly viral. Throat infections, same thing, most of the time it’s viral. Cough, bronchitis, most often viral. But then you switch over, bladder infections, sexually transmitted diseases can be either. Bladder infections and skin infections most often bacterial. The key is figuring out which is the infection caused by, whether it’s bacterial or viral and picking the right antibiotic to treat that infection is it that can be difficult for patients and doctor. That’s correct. The second thing you say is drugs. What do you mean by that? Antibiotic resistance. We’ve heard about it this. This is not the body becoming immune to a drug. This is the organism becoming immune to the drug and this is dire. We are running out of antibiotics to treat infections that are absolutely deadly so people need to put this on their radar. And this third one here a bit outside of medicine but important to factor it in. Agriculture and pharma. You can’t talk about this issue, whit, without talking about those two things. Number one, agriculture, most of our antibiotics in this country are used in animals to promote growth to prevent infection and to treat infection. Most experts say this is a complex issue, and it’s not about completely removing them, it’s about using less, and pharma, there’s no money in the development of antibiotics. We need to develop better drugs or we will not have them when we need them. Very good point. Alarming study. Need to pay close attention. Dr. Ashton, as always, thank you so much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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