News Worms
News Worms


Sussex experts make bold new claim over antibiotics

Sussex experts make bold new claim over antibiotics

However, Seamus Martin, Smurfit Professor of medical genetics at Trinity College in Dublin, said last night he believed patients should finish the course.

Experts have claimed that the reasons for advising patients to complete courses of antibiotics and not stopping them if they feel better are largely historical and not based in current evidence. But now doctors are saying that that advice has no basis in evidence.

It is after experts have warned that resistance to drugs is more of a threat if treatment goes on for too long.

This narrative review challenges current medical advice that patients should complete their course of antibiotics, by suggesting that concerns around antibiotic treatment are driven by fears of under treatment, when we should instead be concerned about over use.

Bacteria have developed multiple tactics to boost their resistance, depending on the infection and antibiotic involved.

"The more one looks, the more we see that we can shorten the duration [of a prescription's length]", he said.

"The Department of Health will continue to review the evidence on prescribing and drug-resistant infections, as we aim to continue the great progress we have made at home and overseas on this issue". The incentive to study these shorter courses needs to come from funders like the National Institutes of Health, she adds.

"No one has questioned (this advice) for all this time", said Peto.

It may be attributable to unproven speculation by Alexander Fleming, the biologist who discovered penicillin, they said.

In his speech accepting the prize on 11 December 1945, Fleming outlined the dangers of not using enough penicillin to treat an infection.

"In the scientific world, it's an accepted view that there is too much usage of antibiotics and we want to minimize that. And so there's a slight information vaccuum". Further research is needed to find a new message that works for the public, such as "Stop when you feel better".

The standing argument that failing to complete a course of antibiotics could fuel the rise of antibiotic resistance has little evidence, a group of United Kingdom researchers argue in a new paper.

Drug resistance experts applauded the suggestions to reduce unnecessary medication use and to improve standard treatment protocols when possible. "Therefore, the overall message to conserve precious antibiotics is simple and important".

The Government's chief medical officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, said: The message to the public remains the same - people should always follow the advice of healthcare professionals. For example, a patient's previous antibiotic exposure is not necessarily considered. "As part of the strategy to combat the antibiotic resistance crisis, we should think about strategies to use less drugs and use drugs for shorter duration".

So should you complete the course or not?

But the team says it is important to move away from blanket prescriptions and, with more research, give antibiotic prescriptions that are tailored to each infection and each person.

But Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of Global Positioning System, said recommended courses of antibiotics "are not random" and are tailored to individual conditions. "Recommended courses of antibiotics are not random", said its chair, Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard.

"You should take the course of antibiotics as prescribed and that doctors need to be careful that they only prescribe the necessary course of antibiotics for paricular patients for a particular condition".

But GPs urge people not to change their behaviour in the face of one study.

'We agree with the researchers that more high quality, clinical trials are needed - and when guidelines are updated, they should take all new evidence into account. "But we're not at that stage yet".

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