Quick quiz question: Which medical specialists in the US prescribe the most antibiotics?
The answer that might surprise you is: Dermatologists.
That’s according to a recent study in JAMA Dermatology in which researchers analyzed American data covering roughly 8 years worth of prescriptions.
Part of the reason for that huge mountain of antibiotic prescriptions by American dermatologists is pretty simple.
Some of the conditions American dermatologists treat (in Canada, this would be mostly family docs) such as rosacea and acne require long-term antibiotic use for adequate control, although happily, the data also indicate that American derm docs are generally prescribing lower doses of antibiotics for these conditions and for for lesser time.
Which is good news because the more antibiotics out there, the more resistance we end up with to these antibiotics.
But that brings me to the bad news in that the data also indicate that for conditions such as cysts and dermatological surgery derm docs are now prescribing many more antibiotics than they did just a few years ago .
The bottomline here is simple: Anytime you get a prescription for an antibiotic, whether from your genial family doc or from a specialist, the first and most important question to ask is “How necessary is this prescription?”, and the follow-up question should be “Is there anything else I can do instead that could mitigate this problem?”
You will be truly amazed as to how often you won’t end up filling that prescription.