Older Americans Are Awash in Antibiotics

nevertheless what public health advocates want to see is actually a decline, as has happened with young children, once the group most likely to use antibiotics.

“This specific’s hard to feel heartened about a plateau when overuse remains so prevalent,” said Dr. Caleb Alexander, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Drug Safety in addition to also Effectiveness. “This specific’s as perennial as the grass.”

Antibiotic overuse contributes to a serious public health threat by creating drug resistance, as infectious bacteria adapt to the medications. Drugs then lose their effectiveness, forcing doctors to resort to more toxic, less potent, often costlier options. Two million Americans get antibiotic-resistant infections annually, the C.D.C. has reported, in addition to also 23,000 die coming from them.

Moreover, antibiotics interact badly with many of the some other drugs older adults take, including such widely used medications as statins, blood thinners, kidney in addition to also heart medications. “The number of potential drug-drug interactions with antibiotics are vast,” Dr. Alexander cautioned.

Some antibiotics also have dismaying, even alarming, side effects in themselves. In 2013, the F.D.A. issued a warning about azithromycin, which in rare cases leads to dangerous heart arrhythmias.

nevertheless for more than a decade, the agency’s most frequent target has been fluoroquinolones.

This specific has warned in which This specific class of antibiotics (including Cipro in addition to also Levaquin) increases the risk of tendinitis in addition to also tendon rupture, particularly in older adults; in which This specific can cause the nerve damage called peripheral neuropathy; in addition to also in which This specific can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

“One of the most common problems for older adults are improvements in mental status — getting anxious, getting loopy,” said Dr. Sara Cosgrove, medical director of the Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Adult Antimicrobial Stewardship Program. “These drugs get into the brain.” The F.D.A. also warned of the problem in July.