Can CAM therapies help reduce antibiotic resistance?

Altern Med Rev. 2003 Feb;8(1):28-42.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the consumption of 235 million doses of antibiotics in 2001. It is estimated that 20-50 percent of these were unnecessarily prescribed for viral infections. Bacteria that antibiotics have controlled in the past are increasingly developing resistance to these drugs. Today, virtually all important bacterial infections in the United States and throughout the world are becoming resistant. For this reason, antibiotic resistance is among the CDC's top concerns. A large portion of antibiotics are dispensed by pediatricians treating common outpatient infectious diseases. The overuse of antimicrobials is beginning to be discouraged as scientific evidence is emerging to support the use of other therapies. In pediatric practice an emphasis on accurate diagnoses, control of environmental risk factors, and utilization of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies could reduce antibiotic prescribing. Antibiotic resistance poses a growing threat to health. CAM therapies may provide a safer, more effective treatment for many acute infections of childhood.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bacterial Infections / etiology
  • Bacterial Infections / therapy*
  • Child
  • Complementary Therapies / methods*
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Herbal Medicine / methods
  • Homeopathy
  • Humans
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Hypersensitivity / complications
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / etiology
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / therapy
  • Phytotherapy / methods
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / drug therapy
  • Virus Diseases / drug therapy


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents