Self-diagnosis and overuse of the drugs could now be adding to the problem, the researchers behind the new study said.
"When people self-diagnose and self-prescribe antibiotics it is likely that the therapy is unnecessary because most often these are upper respiratory infections that are mostly caused by viruses," said study lead author Dr. She an instructor in Family and Community Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
He called the overuse of antibiotics a "major health concern." "It's a bad enough practice when doctors overprescribe, but now it's clear that patients themselves are acquiring antibiotics and are self-prescribing," Horovitz said. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more information on antibiotic resistance.
"Inappropriate use is most often for a cold, where antibiotics won't work." The study was published July 11 in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.
Overall, 14 percent of the adults polled said they kept a stash of antibiotics in their home.