Interestingly, over-treatment is still a significant problem even in this clear, scientific, and value-free case of futility.
Antibiotics are rarely indicated for a cough or cold, but giant fractions of consumers reported expecting an antibiotic at a health care visit for these syndromes. To better understand health care provider and consumer knowledge and attitudes that influence antibiotic use, CDC recently analyzed national internet survey data. 54% of providers reported that they believed their patients expect antibiotics during visits for a cough or cold.
Provider perception of patient expectations for an antibiotic is important, because it has been shown to be a reliable predictor of over-prescribing. That in turn, contributes to preventable side effects, adverse drug events and antibiotic resistance.
CDC urges that consumer education emphasize both the limited circumstances in which respiratory infections require an antibiotic and the individual and population-level harms of inappropriate antibiotic use.