Home Emergency Medicine ERs May Be Overprescribing Antibiotics for Possible STIs

ERs May Be Overprescribing Antibiotics for Possible STIs

Three in four tests for gonorrhea, chlamydia came back negative

THURSDAY, June 9, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Three-quarters of emergency department patients who received antibiotics to treat suspected sexually transmitted infections (STIs) tested negative for the infections, according to a study scheduled to be presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, held from June 11 to 13 in Charlotte, N.C.

Karen Jones, M.P.H., R.N., an infection preventionist at St. John Hospital & Medical Center in Detroit, and colleagues examined the medical records of 1,103 patients who underwent STI testing in the emergency department.

The researchers found that 40 percent were treated with antibiotics for suspected gonorrhea and/or chlamydia. Of those, 76.6 percent ended up testing negative for the STIs. Among the 60 percent of patients who did not receive antibiotics, 7 percent tested positive for one of the STIs.

“We have to find the appropriate balance between getting people tested and treated for STIs, but not prescribing antibiotics to patients who don’t need them,” Jones said in an association news release.

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