It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Doctors must stop telling patients to finish an entire course of antibiotics because it is driving antimicrobial resistance, a group of eminent specialists has warned.
Patients should be encouraged to continue taking medication only until they feel better, to avoid the overuse of drugs, experts from bodies including Public Health England and the University of Oxford are now advising.
But in a new article in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), 10 leading experts said the public health message is not backed by evidence and should be dropped.
They claim it actually puts the public at greater risk from antimicrobial resistance.
“The idea that stopping antibiotic treatment early encourages antibiotic resistance is not supported by evidence, while taking antibiotics for longer than necessary increases the risk of resistance.
“We encourage policy makers, educators, and doctors to stop advocating ‘complete the course’ when communicating with the public.”
However the Royal College of GPs said it was ‘concerned’ about allowing patients to judge for themselves when to stop taking medication, and argue it could cause confusion.
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: ...“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.”
In a small but provocative study published in the June 10 issue of the British medical journal BMJ, Dr. Prins and colleagues from nine hospitals suggested that even some cases of pneumonia — a potentially life-threatening disease — could be treated with a three-day course of antibiotics, rather than the conventional 7- to 10-day treatment.
In India, where Andrew Read studies infectious disease, resistance is so prevalent that standard malaria treatment includes not just the pills, but a boy who comes to your home each day to check that you’ve taken your dose. And yet, Read believes that aggressive treatment with antibiotics is increasing the spread of resistance, not controlling it.
To be clear, nobody is saying patients should decide their own dose. But there is a good argument to be made that the public health message about antibiotics, which is consistent worldwide for many diseases and drugs, deserves a second look.
Taking the full course of antibiotics unnecessarily wastes medicine, and more drugs translates to increased evolutionary pressure on the harmless bacteria in our bodies. These “good” bugs can develop drug-resistant genes, which can then transfer to bad bugs.
Furthermore, wiping out drug-susceptible bacteria in infections too quickly makes it easier for drug-resistant bacteria to compete over a host’s resources. Better access to nutrients lets the mutant bugs multiply far more rapidly, upping the odds that they’ll reach a so-called “transmissible density.” That means the resistant bacteria proliferate so much that they can escape and infect another person.
Most people believe – and have been told by health professionals – that it’s essential to finish a course of antibiotics to prevent antibiotic resistance. But this advice is not only wrong, it could actually be harmful.
The idea that you have to take all the antibiotics you’re prescribed is based on the assumption that all the bacteria causing the infection have to be killed, so the surviving minority don’t become resistant. In fact, for most otherwise healthy people, significantly reducing, but not necessarily totally eliminating, the bacteria causing the infection allows the body’s natural defences to take over and mop up the remaining few.
originally posted by: Bluntone22
I have thought this way before.
Antibiotics should be used to help your body fix infections not fix it for the body.
More settled science..
And that I fear is the real problem in a nutshell. Our greed driven medical system can't have people healing themselves... obviously. The only thing worse than killing a patient or curing a patient is to allow a patient to heal themselves.
originally posted by: snowspirit
a reply to: Boadicea
I went in with pinkeye a couple of years ago, the doc gave me a prescription for mild antibiotics, and told me to try green tea bags first, look up other possible natural cures, and to not fill the prescription if I didn't need it.
The green tea bags, and lots of vitamin C were all I needed.
originally posted by: annoyedpharmacist
It is just my experience, but have seen it way to often. a patient stops taking their antibiotic when they feel well, and 2 or 3 days later end up sick again, back in the pharmacy with another prescription because the infection was not entirely eradicated.
originally posted by: Beatnixx117
I feel way better now. I just ubruptly stopped taking my meds cuz i felt better. For the upteenth time!!! Redemption is sweet cuz i knew it all along.
Also 4-5 doctors prefer Camel Cigarettes!!- circa 1949
Pepsi no Coke- J Belushi
If u wanna see that doctor smoking and smoking commercial look up on youtube " more doctors smoke camel than any other cigarette "
Sorry im old and dont know how to share the link. Well done OP
originally posted by: bananashooter
I am 35 and have never taken a antibiotic before, hopefully I never have to.
originally posted by: annoyedpharmacist
a reply to: Boadicea
Say they take 5 days of a 10 day cycle, leaving them with 5 days of meds left. They get sick again, and the doctor wants a FULL 10 days in a row most times so they need to start again, or a different antibiotic altogether. That is why they need a new rx.
Not saying I agree one way or the other here, just is that is what is typical.