In Depth: Antibiotics

How to keep antibiotics working

Antibiotics have saved millions of lives. But in the future they might not work, because all of us — patients and doctors — are using too many antibiotics. There is a lot of pressure to use them, from friends, family, and advertising. When we use an antibiotic, a few bacteria survive — they “resist” the antibiotic and take over and multiply. When this happens, antibiotics don’t work.

Farms, restaurants, and grocery stores play an important role too. Most of the antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used by the meat industry on animals that aren’t even sick. Consumers Union is working to stop the routine use of antibiotics on healthy livestock.

The materials here explain when you need antibiotics – and when you don’t.

— John Santa, MD, MPH, Medical Director, Consumer Reports Health


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CDC reports on the importance of wise antibiotic use.
• Antibiotic Rx in Hospitals: Proceed With Caution 
Improving Antibiotic Use Among Hospitalized Patients