(PHILLY.COM) -- Patients with a fever or congested lungs increasingly are being discouraged from taking antibiotics in the United States, and that’s a good thing. Those symptoms often are caused by viruses, in which case antibiotics — which kill bacteria — are the wrong approach.
But a new study finds that although antibiotics use has declined somewhat in the U.S., the nation remains the leading user of the drugs worldwide, with 3.3 billion doses administered in 2015. As many as one-third of these doses are thought to have been inappropriate, leading to the rise of “superbugs” — bacteria that develop resistance to the medicines.
And in many countries, antibiotics use is increasing, the study authors reported Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Advertisement - story continues below