Why Are Z-Paks Prescribed?
Your Doctor FriendsDecember 19, 2023

Why Are Z-Paks Prescribed?

Have you ever been 5 days into a cold, and you're just SICK OF FEELING SICK? Did you think "hmmm, maybe I should call my doctor, or hit up the local urgent care and see if they'll prescribe me a Z-Pak"?

What IS a Z-Pak? What does it do? Does it actually do anything? Is it something my healthcare provider gives me just to "do something"? What does the evidence show?

Friends, we know that it may feel like if the patient doesn’t “get something” after coming in for an appointment, that we have cheated them out of “real treatment”, or if we don’t order something that they can’t just get at home or at the drug store, that our role as physician doesn’t have value? Or that we have blown them off, or don’t care about their symptoms?

We want our patients to feel heard, and to feel better! Sometimes setting boundaries, and explaining that the treatment plan is JUST reassurance and expectant management is HARD.

So let's talk all about the most-prescribed outpatient antibiotic, AZITHROMYCIN! What is it good for (and what is it NOT)?

... and BONUS dessert topic at the end answers the question "does choosing reduced-fat dairy as opposed to full-fat have any value?"

Resources for this episode include:

An NBC News story about the recent mycoplasma pneumonia (walking pneumonia) outbreak.

An article by the American Academy of Pediatrics titled "CDC highlights concerns over inappropriate antibiotic prescribing for COVID patients".

A study by Washington University in St. Louis and the Pew Charitable Trusts titled "Inappropriate Antibiotic Prescribing for Adults Comes With Increased Risks".

A NEJM article titled "Azithromycin and the Risk of Cardiovascular Death".

The research page via Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute for Rita Mangione- Smith, MD, MPH (which includes links to the DART- Dialogue Around Respiratory Illness Treatment).

A NYT article titled "Are Low-Fat Dairy Products Really Healthier?"

The WHO webpage about "healthy diet".

The 2020-2025 "Dietary Guidelines for Americans"

The American Heart Association Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations.

A study/meta-analysis from Advances In Nutrition regarding Effects of Dietary Intake on Markers of Metabolic Health in Adults.

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