Stanford Internal Medicine (SIM)

SIM Guide to Using Antibiotics

Antibiotics play a vital role in treating bacterial infections and when used appropriately significantly decrease the morbidity and mortality from such infections.The problem is that the inappropriate use of antibiotics has resulted in the formation of bacterial strains resistant to antibiotics. Infections due to these resistant bacteria are dangerous and can result in unnecessary death or serious illness. Stanford University Hospital has seen an increase in the cases of such bacterial infections over the last several years and coupled with the worlwide problem, we must develop a strategy to fight this problem. Many authorities estimate that up to 50% of the antibiotic use in the outpatient setting is inappropriate and unnecessary. The reason is that many adults suffering from common infections such as colds, coughs, and sore throats are treated with antibiotics, even though it is known that the majority of such infections are the result of viruses. In addition, many infections can be prevented through immunization and others effectively treated without antibiotics, such as common traveler's diarrhea.

The physicians and staff of Stanford Internal Medicine, in concert with a large number of professional organizations and govermental agencies, are committed to working with you, our patients, to insure the proper use of these important medications so that they will remain available and effective when needed.

The role of your physician

Your physician will not routinely prescribe antibiotics and may ask you to come in for a visit to insure the indication is appropriate before providing you an antibiotic. We will identify patients with chronic conditions who may require antibiotics and provide you with a care plan with pre-prescribed antibiotics as appropriate for your health needs.

We will continue to develop eductional resources to help our patients learn self-care treatments and understand when an appointment is required to determine proper treatment.

Tips for our Patients

  • Always see your physician if you believe you have an illness requiring antibiotics. Patients with chronic conditions should review indications for antibiotic use with your physician and develop a personal self-care plan, including appropriate antibiotic prescriptions as needed. Review the SIM Flu Guidelines for effective self-care. Always complete your prescription of antibiotics and never share with friends or family members.

    Learn preventive care:

    • Immunizations are important to prevent viral illnesses such as influenza and bacterial infections such as pneumococcoal pneumonia. Wash hands frequently, especially when around ill childrenn or groups.

    • Wash all fresh fruit and vegetables. Avoid undercooked meats and raw eggs.

    References on Antibiotic Resistance

  • Updated 12.29.12_PM Ford, MD

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