( 90% of the z-pak prescriptions which are requested and written are a complete waste of time and money).
Dammit. I was recently proscribed z-pak for an tooth infection.
I didn’t really question why that, and not a more ordinary antibiotic. Shame on me.
Don’t worry about it. Tooth infections are usually bacterial so an antibiotic was probably necessary. I didn’t mean to imply that azithromycin ( the antibiotic in a z-pak) was a bad antibiotic, it’s not. The problem with this antibiotic is that it only requires a short course (generally 3-5 days) which imparts a false sense of safety that doctors have often used as an excuse for using it to treat people who have colds. They convince themselves that there is less potential for harm and therefor they give themselves permission to use it in many cases where they know an antibiotic will not work. Some of them just don’t have confidence in their ability to distinguish a viral infection from a bacterial infection so they use an antibiotic “just to be safe”. Its also hard sometimes to tell a patient they don’t need an antibiotic when that is what they want. It takes a lot less time to write an rx than to explain to someone why they don’t need one. Often even after we try to educate a patient we face anger when we wont give an antibiotic rx. The doctor who willingly gives out prescriptions is considered a hero when the patient finally gets better. Its often a lose, lose , lose situation for the doctor trying to do the right thing which is why many don’t.
Additionally the ubiquitous use of the “z-pak” has given it mythical status among patients as a magic cure all drug which it is not. I can’t tell you how many times I have been in pubic situations where no one knows I’m a doctor and I hear people tell a friend or family member ” just ask your doctor for a z-pak”. The consequence of this is that it is almost always prescribed for things where no antibiotic will be helpful. The Z-apk is the poster child for antibiotic misuse. That does not mean it isn’t a good antibiotic to use in the correct situation especially now that it is available as a generic, but its gross overuse has lead to an expected surge in bacterial resistance which has made the antibiotic somewhat less useful.