May 24, 2018 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

Antibiotics Mostly Prescribed To Smokers -- Study

Jan 10, 2016 08:11 PM EST

Antibiotic prescriptions are only given to patients with severe viral infections. But in a recent study, it has been revealed that smokers are much more likely to be given antibiotic prescriptions in order for them to be treated.

In a recent report published by a group of researchers in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, it stated that compared to non-smokers, smokers have at least 20 percent to 30 percent higher chances of receiving an antibiotic prescription, regardless of how severe the infection is.

According to lead author Dr. Michael Steinberg of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, smokers are much more likely to be given antibiotic prescriptions even if they don't need them because if not, it will only give viruses more chances of adapting to viral infection solutions. He added that previous studies have already shown that the misuse of the drug can lead to the virus' ability to resist it, therefore prolonging its infection on the host's body.

In order for the team of researchers to identify how often do smokers gets antibiotic on their prescription compared to non-smokers, they used the data from 8,307 doctor's office visits for infection listed from 2006 up to 2010. When the scientists looked at all the respiratory infection visits, they discovered that smokers are 31 percent more likely to walk out of the office with antibiotics prescribed to them rather than those who do not smoke.

Even though the study was unable to show the exact reason why smokers are much more likely to be prescribed with antibiotics, Dr. Steinberg predicted it as to be a part of other doctors' common thinking. He stated that it may be because of an inaccurate judgment among doctors that those who smoke are at much more danger than those who do not. That is why they jumped to critical steps even if they don't need to.

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