NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Area Drug and Therapeutics Committee
Greater Glasgow and Clyde Medicines
Medicines Update

Patients should finish the course of antibiotics


Concerns have been raised regarding the opinion piece published in the BMJ regarding antibiotic courses. Read the article in the BMJ


In response, Dr Andrew Seaton, Chairman of the Scottish Antimicrobial Prescribing Group (SAPG), said:


“Not all infections are the same and no two patients are the same. Doctors tailor treatment decisions (the antibiotic choice, the dose and the course length) to individual patients and their circumstances. It is true that for many conditions there is good scientific evidence that shorter courses of antibiotics are at least as good as longer courses and are less likely to be associated with antibiotic resistance in the future. Guidelines in general practice and in hospitals are already changing to reflect this.

However, stopping a course of antibiotics too early or not taking the antibiotic as instructed could be harmful and could lead to recurrence of symptoms. At the moment there is insufficient scientific evidence to support stopping a course of antibiotics early.

Therefore it is essential that people who are prescribed an antibiotic exactly follow the instructions given by their doctor/nurse or pharmacist.”

 

Published 25/08/17