Friday, 29 September 2017

Study contradicts widely held belief on length of antibiotics use

A new study emerged, published in the BMJ has countered this by suggesting that this direction is not based on evidence.

The study actively argues against the “complete the course” mantra, suggesting that patients should instead stop taking the medication when they feel back to full health. The researchers suggest that the long-held belief to fully complete a course of antibiotics has been held under the presumption that this was the safest route to ensure that mutations in bacteria did not occur.

Now, they postulate that this may be the exact opposite of what would happen – with longer courses ensuring that bacteria are unnecessarily exposed to antibiotics, increasing the opportunity for them to mutate.

The researchers recommend that shorter courses should be delivered to patients and that the length of the regimen should be determined by the evidence, either on existing data or by undertaking clinical trials to better evaluate this.

At the heart of the debate is the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, as more evidence emerges from around the world of the growing inefficacy of many forms of antibiotics, including so called ‘last-resort’ antibiotics.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the RCGP, responded to the study: “We are concerned about the concept of patients stopping taking their medication mid-way through a course once they ‘feel better’, because improvement in symptoms does not necessarily mean the infection has been completely eradicated. It’s important that patients have clear messages and the mantra to always take the full course of antibiotics is well known – changing this will simply confuse people.”

For further details see: Pharma File

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

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