Last updated: Jan 15, 2009
Should you say no to an antibiotic prescription?
Antibiotic overuse isn't a problem just because patients ask for the drugs when they don't need them. It's also due to misusenot matching the antibiotic correctly to the organism, or not taking the drug long enough. And doctors sometimes err on the side of caution; they may order antibiotics even if they're not 100% certain you need one or if they're using the right drug for the right bug.
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- Be patient. Tell your doctor you're willing to wait for a lab test that determines exactly what bacteria you have, and the drug that will best treat it.
- Be open-minded. Studies have shown that doctors often give patients a prescription because they perceive that patients want it. Make it clear that you're just as happy to skip the script if it's unnecessary.
- Take your medication as directed. If your doctor still thinks you need an antibiotic, take the entire dose as directed. Stopping medication too early is a big contributor to drug resistance.