Okay to stop antibiotics early


17 Feb 2015

There is no risk — and every advantage — in stopping a course of an antibiotics immediately a bacterial infection has been excluded, an expert says.

There is a common misconception that resistance will emerge if a prescribed antibiotic course is not completed, however premature cessation will not increase the risk of resistance, wrote Gwendolyn Gilbert, from the Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity.

For most infections, the recommended duration of therapy (5–14 days, depending on syndrome) is based on expert opinion and convention, rather than solid evidence, but for many syndromes associated with bacteraemia, there is no difference in outcome when shorter courses are used, she wrote in a perspective in the MJA.

“In practice the optimal duration of therapy depends on clinical syndrome, the causative organism, whether source control is possible and the patient’s response to therapy,” she wrote.


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