US Pharm. 2015;40(1):10.

Washington, DC—Research from George Washington University suggests that public-health educational materials are not addressing the misconceptions that cause patients to expect antibiotics, which in turn drives antibiotic overprescription. Researchers surveyed 113 patients to test their understanding of antibiotics and discovered that even if they know that antibiotics do not work against viruses, patients may want an antibiotic for their virus anyway, under the misconception that taking the medication “can’t hurt” and the risk of side effects from unnecessary antibiotics is essentially nil. Most educational tools used to communicate the dangers of unnecessary antibiotic use discuss the differences between viruses and bacteria, but do not address patients’ widespread belief that there is no harm in taking an antibiotic for a virus.

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