Doctors Often Write Rx for Antibiotics If Patients Expect It

Findings held true even if doctor did not suspect bacterial infection


FRIDAY, Feb. 17, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Doctors are more likely to prescribe antibiotics if they think patients expect the medications, according to a study published online Feb. 16 in Health Psychology.

The study included 436 doctors in the United Kingdom. The researchers conducted two experiments and presented physicians with different scenarios where they had to decide if they would prescribe antibiotics.

The researchers found that physicians were more likely to prescribe antibiotics if patients had high expectations of receiving the medications. This was true even if the doctor didn't think the patient had a bacterial infection.

"Much effort has been spent encouraging physicians to adhere to clinical guidelines when prescribing antibiotics. However, with few notable exceptions, these efforts rarely address the non-clinical factors, such as how to tackle patients' expectations," study author Miroslav Sirota, Ph.D., of the University of Essex in Colchester, U.K., said in a journal news release.

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