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Why we finish antibiotics


Making sure that we complete our prescribed course of antibiotics is really important. Shorter courses of antibiotics can be just as effective as longer courses for some infections and they are more likely to be completed properly and to have fewer side.

They also reduce the amount of antibiotics that we are consuming which reduces the likelihood of antibiotics entering the environment. However the type of antibiotic and the length of the course needed to completely kill all the bacteria causing the infection is based on the best evidence that we have at the current time. Remember that feeling better, or an improvement in symptoms, does not always mean that the infectious bacteria have been killed or destroyed so the best advice is to always follow the advice on the prescription.

A recent BBC news story discussed whether you should finish a prescribed course of antibiotics. For a thoughtful response to this story please have a look at the following articles:

BSAC responds to BMJ article ‘The antibiotic course has had its day’

The antibiotic course has had its day

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Using Infection Control to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance

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