Antibiotics and Elders

This article about antibiotics and older adults appeared in the March 15, 2019 New York Times. While these medications cure bacterial infections, many antibiotics cause side effects that can be especially pronounced for older seniors, so they should be prescribed carefully and avoided when possible. The article, written by Paula Spann, interviews geriatric physicians, lists some of the specific antibiotics that should be avoided, and also notes that individuals over age 65 “have the highest rate of outpatient  prescribing of any age.”

Interesting Points from the Article

  1. Overprescribing contributes to antibiotic-resistant infections.
  2. Fluoroquinolones, a class of antibiotics, has caused enough side effects that the FDA has issued warnings about its use with older adults, yet the class of medication is the most commonly prescribed antibiotic for older adults.
  3. Medicare is developing policies that promote wiser use of antibiotics.

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