Prescribing Practices: How to Say "No" to Antibiotic requests

Studies show that over 55% of antibiotics prescribed for upper respiratory infections are unnecessary. You may not be aware of it, but your prescribing practices as a health care provider are extremely influential in the education of your patients. When antibiotics are frequently prescribed to patients for viral infections, the patients learn that this is the standard of care for the situation, and will expect the same treatment at subsequent illnesses. If the medical community provides a consistent message in only offering antibiotics for bacterial infections, patients will learn not to expect antibiotics for viral conditions. They will also learn that viral illnesses resolve without antibiotics.

While it is certainly understood that the medical community is under tremendous pressure from various sources, it is possible to provide care to patients without offering antibiotic prescriptions that you believe are not needed. Here are a few suggestions:

How can I say no to patients when antibiotics won't help?

Immediate actions to take to decrease antibiotic resistance

Infection Control

In addition to the practices for the general public: