Nearly half of patients will keep leftover antibiotics — 3 survey findings

It is common for people to give friends and family their unused antibiotics, particularly if they are in liquid or drop form, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition Nov. 5 in Orlando, Fla.

Researchers polled a national sample of 496 parents using an anonymous online questionnaire.

Here are the findings:

1. Around 48 percent of respondents reported they'd kept leftover antibiotics. Of those, 73 percent subsequently gave the unused antibiotics to siblings, unrelated children and unrelated adults, without physician consultation.

2. Liquids and drops were the most common form of antibiotics diverted as compared to creams and tablets.

3. Sixteen percent reported they had given their child adult medications.

"This is dangerous not only for those given antibiotics that weren't prescribed for them, but for entire populations of people who some antibiotics may no longer help when the bacteria they target become resistant to them," said Ruth Milanaik, DO, senior study author and director of the neonatal neurodevelopment follow-up program at the Cohen Children's Medical Center in New York City.

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