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Patients and health care providers asked to carefully consider use of antibiotics

(Moncton) November 16, 2015 - During Antibiotic Awareness Week, Nov. 16 to 22, Horizon Health Network and Vitalité Health Network encourage patients and health care providers to discuss how best to use antibiotics. 

Antibiotics are prescribed medications that work to kill bacteria or stop them from multiplying. Overuse of antibiotics can result in resistant bacteria that are difficult to kill and can spread to other people. To reduce this risk, conversations between patients, families, caregivers and their health care providers will help ensure antibiotics are only prescribed when needed. 

Almost half of antibiotic prescriptions are either inappropriate, or the reason for the prescription was not documented or apparent, according to a 2012 survey of 21 New Brunswick hospitals. Patients can help: 

1. When being evaluated for an infection, it is important to ask your health care provider:

Do I have a bacterial infection that requires me to take antibiotics?

  • Antibiotics only treat infections caused by bacteria and are not effective against viruses.
  • Several common illnesses are caused by viruses, NOT by bacteria. Colds and the flu, a runny nose, bronchitis, certain ear infections, and most sinus infections and sore throats are caused by viruses and will not respond to antibiotics.

2. If you are prescribed intravenous antibiotics, ask your health care provider:

Must I take the antibiotics intravenously or can I take them orally?

  • Oral alternatives to some intravenous (IV) antibiotics are available and switching over is possible.  Inappropriate IV therapy can increase the risk of falling, IV site infections, and discomfort.
  • Switching from IV to oral antibiotic therapy can make you more comfortable, and shorten your hospital stay.

3. In addition, if you are prescribed antibiotics for a bacterial infection, make sure you:

  • Do not skip doses;
  • Do not share your antibiotics; and
  • Always complete the course of treatment.

In order to ensure antibiotics remain effective, medical professionals and patients must carefully consider whether antibiotics are truly needed. Sometimes the best prescription is no prescription.

To find out more, visit

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For more information contact:

Stephanie Neilson

Media Relations



Luc Foulem

Media Relations


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