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Antibiotics No Cure-All for Sore Throats or Bronchitis

iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- If you can’t quit getting sick, at least quit taking antibiotics for illnesses they can’t cure.

In reality, Dr. Jeffrey Linder of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston says it’s the fault of physicians for overprescribing antibiotics for patients with sore throats and bronchitis, claiming the drug is clearly not effective in treating these conditions.

After reviewing two national ambulatory care databases, Linder found that while doctors prescribe antibiotics for 60 percent of patients with sore throats, just 10 percent of sore throats caused by a pathogen respond to the drug.

Meanwhile, even a greater percentage of patients with bronchitis, more than seven in 10, get antibiotics, which Linder says does nothing to cure serious inflammation of the air passages between the nose and the lungs.

According to Linder, “For individual patients, the compelling reason not to take antibiotics is they're not going to help you and there's a very real chance they're going to hurt you.” 

He says that doctors need to be up front with their patients, even if it's not what they want to hear.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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