Study Finds Antibiotics are Over Used For Treating Elderly with Urinary Tract Infections

A recent study suggests doctors commonly prescribe unnecessary antibiotics to elderly nursing home residents with suspected urinary tract infections (UTIs). At two facilities studied,  40% of residents with urinary problems got inappropriate drugs, researchers found, which in turn increased their chance of getting a bacterial infection.

Doctors are only supposed to treat a UTI with antibiotics if the patient meets certain criteria. Dr. David Dosa of Brown University said overuse can lead to drug-resistant bacteria and so increase the risk of hard-to-treat infections. Over six months, one out of seven people that received UTI antibiotics in the nursing homes came down with Clostridium difficile, a bacteria that can cause diarrhea, cramps and sometimes life-threatening inflammation of the colon.

Rather than asking for antibiotics as soon as patients get an infection, patients and their families should be listening to the physicians for when antibiotics should be prescribed, Dosa said. To be treated with antibiotics, patients should have three out of five symptoms described in current UTI guidelines, such as a fever or a burning sensation while urinating. For more, read the story.


Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.

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