Women all across the United States with private health insurance are receiving the wrong treatment for their urinary tract infections (UTIs). A new study has evaluated data obtained from 670,450 women from urban and rural parts of the country, who were between 18 and 44 years of age and were diagnosed with UTIs. Most of them were given the wrong treatment for UTIs including antibiotics and 2/3rd of them were advised for an unnecessarily long medication.
The complete findings of this study are published in the journal Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.
All these patients were diagnosed with uncomplicated UTIs which means none of them were experiencing abnormalities or signs of any disease which may subject them to health complications.
These results were almost the same in all locations, however, the patients belonging to the rural areas were more subjected to prolonged antibiotic use. This study was completed from 2011 to the year 2015, and throughout this time, there was only one improvement in wrong UTIs treatment which was to prescribe antibiotics according to the clinical guidelines.
Inappropriate or wrong antibiotic treatment is common for UTIs mainly uncomplicated cases. These may not look like a problem but may lead to individual and societal level results later.
This new study finds the requirement of antimicrobial stewardship interferences which may improve antibiotic prescriptions, especially in rural areas. Various pharmaceutical companies provided funding to this study, some of which are Pfizer, Sanofi, and Merck.
The results of this study were peer-reviewed and found similar to those previously reported. Based on this analysis, it shows up that 60% of all antibiotics that are given to the patients in ICU are unnecessary, or wrongly prescribed.
Surprisingly, it is not just a problem for the US, but also in various other parts of the world as UTIs are among highly prevalent infections requiring emergency care. In the United Kingdom, UTIs are the second biggest disease that requires antibiotics treatment.
Using the wrong type of antibiotic pill negatively affects health, also prolonged use may increase the chances of drug resistance in bacteria. It will make bacterial strains become stronger and more unstoppable by the same medicine again.
For now, every one in three women suffering from uncomplicated UTIs has become resistant to an antibiotic named Bactrim, which is a combination of sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim. While this number is much higher for other strains.
The number of deaths caused by antibiotic resistance in UTIs is challenging to establish because there is not much research available on it. However, there are some studies that reveal that nearly 13,000 people in the US lose their lives to antibiotic resistance.
Because of these growing cases, the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) in collaboration with the European Society for Microbiology as well as Infectious Diseases decided to update these guidelines for the clinical practices.
But it seems like this advice has not reached the healthcare professionals or maybe the message is not clear. That’s why many of them are still writing prescriptions for unnecessary, long use of antibiotics for UTI patients.
Identifying these wrong treatments for UTIs will help to understand which areas need improvement and compliance with the antibiotic guidelines. This is the first-ever large-scale study to investigate this disparity. Understanding the reasons and unwillingness to write better medication may require more detailed studies in the future.