Antibiotic Resistance: Is It Time to Question Your Doctor’s Advice About Completing Your Antibiotics? by Joy Stephenson-Laws JD

Family Health
3 months ago
Antibiotic Resistance: Is It Time to Question Your Doctor’s Advice About Completing Your Antibiotics?

Perhaps you have been told at some point in your life that stopping antibiotic treatment early encourages antibiotic resistance. So like me, when your doctor prescribes antibiotics you are probably very diligent in completing the course of treatment. After all, you want to get well and avoid infections. Well, turns out it may be time to question your doctor’s advice about completing your antibiotic course.

According to Martin J. Llewelyn, professor of infectious diseases at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, there is absolutely no evidence that stopping antibiotics early encourages antibiotic resistance. In fact, taking antibiotics for longer than necessary may increase the risk of antibiotic resistance. 

According to the study, doctors, educators and policy-makers are now being advised to stop advocating the completion of antibiotic course when communicating with the public. Further, it says they should "publicly and actively state that this was not evidence-based and is incorrect."

Here is more information on how to be proactive about antibiotics and read more about this study via BMJ

Donna John
Whoa. This is very interesting. My doctors have always told me to finish ALL medication even if I felt better. My kids' doctors, too. Definitely going to ask my doctor about this at my next checkup. Thanks for sharing this with us so we are aware, Joy Stephenson-Laws JD .
Rachael Daniels
According to the CDC, approximately 2 million people annually become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and another 23,000 die each year as direct result of these infections. What most patients do not realize is that seeking an antibiotic for the common virus/cold is a leading cause of this antibiotic resistance. Bacteria have become smarter, adapting to the antibiotics they "see" on a regular basis. This has created resistant strains that require more powerful antibiotics to kill them. The only reason to stop an antibiotic early is if you don't have the infection you thought you were treating in the first place. In the clinic I work in, I see patients coming in with a complaint of fever for 2 days and they want an antibiotic, even though I have diagnosed then with a viral URI. A common cold. If I prescribe an antibiotic for a viral infection, that will lead to a patient's body not being able to fight off a bacterial infection in the future, thus setting them up for possible drug resistance. Furthermore, if you are prescribed an antibiotic for a known infection, you should take the full course of the antibiotic as prescribed by your physician or nurse practitioner.
I think the public needs to understand that antibiotics should be used sparingly and only in those cases where a known infection is being treated. It is also important to let your body fight off viruses and do what it does best before seeking an antibiotic to treat something it was not meant to treat.

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