While prescriptions for antibiotics declined 12 percent nationally, presumably in response to awareness campaigns tying their use to the increase in drug-resistant superbugs, a non-profit studying antibiotic use has found a wide disparity in regional use.Image by dkalsbeek
According to the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy's (CDDEP) "ResistanceMap," an aggregation of antibiotics and pathogens data collected from 1999 to 2007, residents of West Virginia and Kentucky consume about twice as many antibiotics per capita as people living in Oregon and Alaska. For example, researchers observed that the use of cephalosporins were 2.4 times higher in East South Central than in the Pacific states.
The data also show that while the overall decline occurred with older classes of drugs such as penicillins, the use of stronger drugs like fluoroquinolones and macrolides are rising.
Possible reasons for the wide range in use might be attributable to "a variety of cultural, socio-economic and epidemiological causes," says the CDDEP.
"Every time an antibiotic is used, whether to save a life or to "treat" a viral infection that it cannot cure, the future effectiveness of that drug is diminished," according to the CDDEP website.