CAMPAIGN kicking off to persuade patients to cut back on use of antibiotics

Wednesday, August 1st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

DENVER (AP) _ Colorado will be the initial site for a national media campaign aimed at coaxing patients away from excessive use of antibiotics in order to reduce the proliferation of drug-resistant bacteria.

The National Institutes of Health will head the four-year, $2 million information campaign, medical researchers said Tuesday.

``Doctors know the dangers of overprescribing antibiotics, but this educates on the patient side,'' said Chet Seward, health care policy director at the Colorado Medical Society.

``People will go doctor shopping,'' said Dr. Paul Barrett. ``You come to see me Monday with your chest cold, and you try to convince me you need an antibiotic. I don't give you an antibiotic, and I give you my explanation. You leave, not really convinced. Next time, you look for a different physician.''

Advertisements will begin next year on radio and television, bus stops, billboards and newspapers.

Some bacteria have already mutated into strains resistant to antibiotics. Infectious-disease experts have long warned that antibiotics are being overused _ too often prescribed for viruses that the drugs cannot treat, for example. And they're often used improperly, such as when patients don't take all the prescribed doses, making leftover germs more resistant to future treatment.