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
Choosing Wisely campaign
Educational resources we created to help patients and doctors discuss appropriate antibiotic use.
• Antibiotics: When You Need Them
• Antibiotics poster (large)
• Antibiotics poster (small)
• Antibiotics: Will They Help You or Hurt You?
• Antibiotics For Respiratory Illness in Adults
• Think Your Child Needs Antibiotics?
• Antibiotics for Ear Infection in Children
• Antibiotics for Pink Eye
• Antibiotics for Respiratory Illness in Children
• Antibiotics for Urinary Tract Infections in Older People
• Antibiotics for Your Skin
• Oral Antibiotics for Ear Infections
• Treating Sinusitis
Consumer Reports articles
Information and advice from ConsumerReports.org
• The Rise of Superbugs
• How Your Hospital Can Make You Sick
• Why You Should Be Worried About Antibiotics
• When You Think You Need Antibiotics But Really Don’t
• Antibiotics: From Medical Miracle to Medical Nightmare
• Soothe Your Sore Winter Nose
• Antibiotic Misuse Kills Thousands, Harms Millions
• Antibiotics For Ear Infections: Often Unnecessary
• Got a Sore Throat? Hold the Antibiotics
• Get Smart About Antibiotics For Flu Season
• Just Say No to Antibiotics for the Cold and Flu
• Is it an Allergy or a Sinus Infection?
• The Cold Facts About Cold and Flu
• Use of Antibiotics on Healthy Animals Must Stop
Best Buy Drugs campaign
Helping you select safe, effective and affordable medicines.
• Five Questions to Ask About a New Drug
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