(REUTERS) - Pediatricians in the United States write more than 10 million unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions every year for conditions such as the flu and asthma, contributing to potentially dangerous drug resistance, a study said.
Researchers looked at a nationally representative sample of almost 65,000 outpatient visits by children under 18 during 2006 to 2008, with findings reported in the journal Pediatrics.
In total, doctors prescribed an antibiotic at one in every five visits, with most dispensed for children with respiratory ailments such as sinus infections and pneumonia.
Some of those infections were caused by bacteria, warranting antibiotics. But almost one-quarter of all antibiotic prescriptions were given to children with respiratory conditions that probably or definitely do not call for antibiotics, such as bronchitis, the flu, asthma and allergies.