Doctors in Germany often prescribe antibiotics only on suspicion

    Antibiotic prescription should be curbed
    According to a health insurance study, doctors prescribe antibiotics to their patients in most cases on suspicion. However, the efficacy of the medication could be clarified in advance by a smear. Federal Minister of Health Hermann Gröhe wants to curb the frivolous prescription of antibiotics.

    Millions of unnecessary prescriptions
    The number of antibiotic resistances has been increasing for years. The likelihood of such strains of resistant pathogens continues to increase because these drugs are used far too often. A recent study in the United States showed that antibiotics are still being used on a massive scale. As the doctors reported in the JAMA magazine, approximately 47 million unnecessary prescriptions for the drug are issued each year in the United States alone. Unfortunately, it doesn't look much better in Germany.

    Effectiveness is not clarified
    According to a health insurance study, doctors almost always prescribe antibiotics to their patients on suspicion. The newspapers of the Funke Media Group, citing a survey by the company health insurance companies (BKKen) Nordwest und Mitte, reported that medical practitioners prescribe antibiotics in 95 percent of cases, without clarifying their effectiveness beforehand with a smear.

    According to the information, the BKK state associations had evaluated the data of around seven million insured persons in 13 federal states for their survey. According to this, an antibiogram was only made in 3.6 percent of patients with infections before prescribing antibiotics. Based on such a smear in the patient, it is clear within 48 hours which antibiotic can switch off the infection.

    Antibiotics only for bacterial infections
    The German BKK writes on its website: “Patients should only be treated with an antibiotic if the infection is bacterial. Because antibiotics are powerless against viral infections. ”Since the agents not only act against pathogenic bacteria, but also“ fight ”the beneficial bacteria on our skin, mucous membranes and intestines, the principle“ as much as necessary but as rarely as possible. "

    General practitioners rarely use antibiograms
    According to the BKK, the antibiogram is rarely used in German practices. Accordingly, it enjoys the greatest esteem in urology: With around 207,000 infections, urologists caused the test in almost every fourth case. For internists, there were only 30 antibiograms for almost 119,000 cases of infection. General practitioners use the procedure even less frequently. Of the more than 350,000 cases of infection that were treated with antibiotics by the family doctor, the BKK examiners found only 15 cases that were secured by an antibiogram.

    "Shotgun Therapy"
    Health expert Gerd Glaeske from the University of Bremen spoke of a "shotgun therapy, broadly spread instead of targeted". He said: “At first glance, this has to do with children's susceptibility to infections. A closer look reveals that bacterial infections are rarely involved. However, antibiotics only help against such infections ”“. It is said that many doctors would openly admit that the prescriptions are not about therapy, but about “reassuring the parents”.

    Federal government wants to curb frivolous antibiotic prescription
    Federal Minister of Health Hermann Gröhe (CDU) told the newspapers of the Funke media group that he wanted to "promote the targeted use of antibiotics" and therefore improve regulations for the reimbursement of diagnostic procedures. The minister is said to have already taken this into account in a new drug supply law, which is currently being voted on within the federal government and is due to be adopted by the cabinet soon. "This should enable doctors to determine quickly and with quality assurance in practice which treatment is the right one for the patient," said Gröhe. (ad)

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