It’s a line we’ve heard repeatedly from doctors and parents and pharmacists—and (didn’t I say repeatedly?) parents again.
“You need to take the full course of antibiotics, otherwise it (whatever ‘it’ is) will come back.”
Even if you don’t feel the need for three tablets a day, six days after your rash has disappeared.
Even if you really want to have a glass (or four) of wine on Saturday night and you know taking antibiotics leading up to the weekend is going to make Sunday a living hell.
Even if you really are better and hate how loopy the tablets make you feel.
All these excuses always fall on deaf ears because the advice has always been: “You need to take the full course of antibiotics.”
NOT ANYMORE, MUM!
Experts in the UK now are questioning the widely-held belief, arguing the deeply embedded message puts patients at unnecessary risk of antibiotic resistance.
What you don’t know about your body. Post continues below.
In an editorial published in the BMJ, Martin Llewelyn, Professor of Infectious Diseases, and colleagues at Brighton and Sussex Medical School say it’s time for policy makers and doctors to drop this message, AAP reports.
They say there is “little evidence” that stopping treatment early is harmful.
“Currently, we make indication specific recommendations for antibiotic duration that are based on poor evidence,” the report states. “In hospital practice, biomarkers of treatment response can guide when to stop antibiotic treatment.”
“Outside the hospital, patients might be best advised to stop treatment when they feel better, in direct contradiction of WHO (World Health Organisation) advice.”