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Reasons why antibiotics are not used correctly

Antibiotics are used unnecessarily for a number of reasons. Often they are prescribed ’just in case’ as the physician has no test result available to base the treatment decision on. Other reasons for inappropriately prescribing antibiotics are cultural beliefs or lack of knowledge. Education of both the doctor and the patient has been found to be an effective tool to reduce the amount of antibiotic prescriptions (9).

  • Lack of rapid, on-site diagnostic test results
  • Antibiotics are often prescribed just in case
  • Cultural views of infections requiring antibiotic treatment
  • Uncertainty regarding diagnosis, fear of bad clinical outcome
  • Unrealistic patient expectations, pressure from patients and family
  • Antibiotics are prescribed to maintain good relationship with patients
  • Insufficient time to educate patients
  • General lack of knowledge about differences between bacterial and viral infections
  • Antibiotics are sold over the counter (OTC) without a prescription in some countries