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Most Doctors Prescribe Antibiotics That Don't Work

Medical researchers concluded years ago that antibiotics don’t cure acute bronchitis. The drugs might reduce your coughing symptoms slightly, but the antibiotics also increase your risk of side effects such as diarrhea and nausea. And overuse of antibiotics breeds bacteria resistant to the current cures.

Yet patients who show up to clinics or emergency rooms with bronchitis still receive antibiotics about 70 percent of the time, according to a new review of prescribing data published in JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association. And the rate even increased slightly between 1996 and 2010 despite efforts to educate doctors and establish guidelines against antibiotics.