Study: Tennessee ranks No. 3 for antibiotic use

(AP Photo)

A new study has found that the state of Tennessee ranks number three in the country for the use of antibiotics.

According to new information released by the ‘Extending the Cure' project, Tennessee has landed on an alarming new list of antibiotic use with the rate of prescriptions in the state at 1.17 per person in 2007, nearly double that of Alaska, which has the lowest rate.

According to the study, the other top states with the highest antibiotic use are West Virginia, Kentucky, Louisiana and Alabama.

“We don't have time to wait for things to get better and go back to the doctor if they don't,” said Dr. Pilkinton, of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, who specializes in internal medicine and infectious diseases.

Dr. Pilkinton, tells Nashville's News 2 that sometimes patients look to antibiotics as a cure all, even for illnesses like the common cold.

“Antibiotics are used for bacterial infections and bacterial infections can present a large array of symptoms,” Dr. Pilkinton told Nashville's News 2, “Lots of colds are caused by viruses and not bacteria, so antibiotics will not have any effect of those.”

This increased use of antibiotics is a trend Gary Williams, pharmacist and owner of Riverside Village Pharmacy has noticed as well.

“In my experience over the years, the patients think they have to have it [antibiotics], it's a mental thing,” Williams told Nashville's News 2, “Most of the time they go to the doctor they think when they come out they need to have an antibiotic prescription.”

However, sometimes antibiotics can do more harm than good down the road.

“Your body will stay responsive to antibiotics, but the bacteria that live in your body overtime they can grow resistant to the antibiotics,” said Dr. Pilkinton.

Becoming resistant to antibiotics means those once powerful drugs could become ineffective against some infections.

Many times, with illnesses like the common cold, your body can fight off the illness without antibiotics. Both Dr. Pilkinton and Williams recommend over-the counter drug options to manage your symptoms.

To view the report from Extending the Cure, visit

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