August 20th, 2017

Podcast 211: On (not) staying the (antibiotic) course

(5 votes, average: 4.80 out of 5)

Sometimes — but not all the time — patients can be advised to stop a course of antibiotics if they feel better. Traditionally, the advice has been to complete the entire course, regardless. Why? Because it was thought that stopping early might lead to more antibiotic resistance. That’s changing now, as the WHO and the CDC advise that courses be taken as directed by (and in consultation with) the prescriber.

Prof. Martin Llewelyn and his colleagues wrote an intriguing analysis in The BMJ of the idea of stopping treatment under certain circumstances. They point out that it’s the longer duration of treatment (and thus longer exposure of commensals to antibiotics) that’s almost certainly causing most cases of resistance.

Links:

Article in The BMJ

NEJM Group Open Forum starting Wednesday, Aug. 23

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