Article on Antibiotics and Bronchitis,

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Bruin63, Feb 21, 2006.

  1. Bruin63

    Bruin63 Member


    The last time I had a serious case of Bronchitis, was before I was dx with FMS. back in 2000.
    I couldn't breathe, and my chest felt so heavy, it hurt to lie flat.
    Horrible cough, it would make my Backache, and give me a headache.
    I always wondered if the Antibotics they gave me, helped, because it took months to get over it.
    The only thing that gave me Relief was the Vicodin 750's I was on, for pain, it's also good for cough's.
    Anyway, I was reading and came across this article.
    Hope you find it interesting, I sure did. ;o)

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    Study: antibiotics no cure for bronchitis

    There's no cure for a cold. Most people know that. But what about bronchitis, that hacking, lingering cough filling the February air and the waiting rooms of doctors coast to coast?

    We want our doctors to do something about it. And very often they do: They prescribe an antibiotic.

    But they shouldn't.

    "Antibiotics do not work in acute bronchitis," says Richard Irwin, professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. He chaired a panel that wrote new cough treatment guidelines for the American College of Chest Physicians. (The guidelines, released in January, said cough syrups don't work, either.)

    "There are nine or 10 trials that show little or no benefit for antibiotic treatments," says Ralph Gonzales, a researcher and internist at the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco.

    The reason antibiotics don't work: Acute bronchitis, which usually is defined as inflamed airways with a cough that lasts up to three weeks, almost always is the result of a common cold. And colds are caused by viruses. Antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses.

    The idea that bronchitis is often a separate, bacterial infection or that it frequently leads to bacterial pneumonia (a lung infection) is false. No more than 5% of patients who come to a doctor's office with an "acute coughing illness" have pneumonia, Gonzalez says; in an emergency room, the rate might reach 10%.

    And, he says, if a doctor is doing his job, including checking vital signs such as heart rate and temperature, listening to lungs and doing chest X-rays on appropriate patients, pneumonia can be ruled in or out. Most at risk: the very young, the very old and the chronically ill.

    But contrary to popular belief, even coughs that last longer than three weeks or that produce green or yellow phlegm, rob your voice or wake you up at night rarely "turn into pneumonia" or any other bacterial infection in otherwise healthy people.

    And yet, Gonzalez says, perhaps 50% of patients diagnosed with acute bronchitis receive an antibiotic.

    That's despite the fact that antibiotic overuse is a major public health threat. Every time you take a drug for a bug you do not have, you kill off harmless bacteria and encourage the growth of drug-resistant strains.

    So why do doctors prescribe the drugs?

    "A lot of people expect an antibiotic, and the doctors want to make them happy," says T. Grant Phillips, an internist at Washington (Pa.) Hospital.

    But doctors who educate patients and offer other treatments, along with a follow-up plan if the cough persists, do have satisfied customers, Gonzales says.

    Among possible treatment options: asthma drugs such as albuterol, which calm inflamed airways. And the new cough guidelines say decongestants and old-fashioned sedating antihistamines often help.

    Phillips has another idea for doctors: Stop using the B-word. In a recent survey, he found patients were twice as likely to predict dissatisfaction if they left a doctor's office without an antibiotic prescription for "bronchitis" vs. a "chest cold."

    If it's whooping cough
    Usually, a cough is just a cold symptom. But a cough that makes an adult throw up several times a day, or even pass out? "That's whooping cough," Irwin says.

    Unlike most coughs, it is treatable with antibiotics. But there's a catch: The medications help only when people are diagnosed quickly, within a couple of weeks.

    So, Irwin urges, if you have a very bad cough that is getting worse in its second week, get to a doctor. Treatment could stop symptoms that otherwise might last two months. And it could stop you from spreading an illness that can be fatal in children.

    The chest physicians now recommend that adults under age 65 get a whooping cough vaccine.

    By Kim Painter, USA TODAY
  2. vickiw

    vickiw Member

    The 3 or so times I've had bronchitis, the doctors put me on antibiotics right away - I never asked for them. I assumed that was because bronchitis was a bacterial infection. I guess they did too :)

    The worst case I had lasted 2 solid months and the after-effects lasted a few months more. I ended up with pleuritis from all the coughing. Wow, is that painful. Before I was diagnosed, I was pretty sure it was something fatal.