Urgent care clinics are prescribing too many antibiotics for illnesses that don't need them, according to a new study.
Researchers aimed to get a better look at antibiotic overuse, specifically in the urgent care setting, and found that the antibiotic prescription rates there are higher than in a traditional doctor's office. More than 45 percent of patients who visited the clinics with a suspected respiratory infection, like a cold or flu, received an antibiotic prescription.
The issue is, in many cases, those conditions don't respond to that class of drugs, and unnecessary antibiotic use has real-world health implications. According to the CDC, antibiotic overuse contributes to the growth of "superbugs," which are antibiotic-resistant. The agency calls it "one of the most serious public health problems" in the U.S.
Some urgent care physicians say over-prescribing may be in part due to patients demanding antibiotics, even when they're unnecessary. The study's authors recommend more research, as the findings aren't nationally-representative, but rather a snapshot of urgent care prescribing practices.
Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.