CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, on Antibiotics

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Hansa Bhargava, MD
Hi, I’m Dr. Hansa Bhargava from WebMD and I’m joined today by Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC. Thank you for being here, Dr. Frieden. WebMD and Medscape did a survey about antibiotic resistance with patients and clinicians. Interestingly, a quarter of our patients responded that they had asked their doctor for an antibiotic prescription. What would you say to the person who’s just trying to get back to work quickly, but looks to antibiotics as a solution?

Tom Frieden, MD
Every medication has risks and benefits and we know that antibiotics have definite risks. That can be diarrhea from C. difficile, it can be resistant infections, it can be nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. There are serious potential risks within antibiotics and the benefits are really great if you’ve gotten a bacterial infection, but very often the illnesses that people have are the common cold, or flu, and they’re not caused by bacteria. So, they won’t help you and they might hurt you.