It is ingrained in people’s minds that they should finish the entire course of antibiotics prescribed by their doctor. Many have been led to believe that failure to do so may cause the bacteria to become immune to the antibiotic.
However, a group of British doctors challenged this ideology. These doctors say that cutting short a course of antibiotics is okay. This finding negates the teaching that one needs to finish the entire prescription. The doctors say that antibiotic resistance due to unfinished medication is a myth.
The new analysis published in The BMJ reveals that taking antibiotics longer than needed isn’t necessarily better. Tim Peto, author and professor, affirms the discovery.
Other medical institutions agreed to name a few are the health experts from Brighton and Sussex Medical School and the University of Oxford.These experts all disagree in the teaching the if one does not finish his or her antibiotics, resistance will develop in the bacteria.
They believe that the advice always to finish antibiotics is incorrect. According to them, the directive has no strong supporting evidence. They all agree that new clinical trials be conducted. The purpose of this proposed experiment is to find out the best length of treatment for specific conditions.
The paper also discusses a thorough analysis of antibiotics. They traced the origins of the idea to Andrew Fleming’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech In 1945.In his speech, he spoke about a man who didn’t take enough of the drug and died from the strep throat infection.
“If you use penicillin, use enough!” Fleming said at the time. Alexander Fleming’s work showed that sensitive bacteria could adapt to penicillin.The words of the famous bacteriologist led to an implication that not finishing a course of antibiotics will result in antibiotic resistance.The words from Fleming himself is the reason why the strong teaching is firmly affixed in both doctors and lay people.
A WORD OF CAUTION
The paper also reflects how modern science shows that unnecessary antibiotic can contribute to the spread of bacterial immunity to antibiotics. This includes antibiotics that are prescribed even without the need for it, for example, viral illnesses. As science lovers know, antibiotics can kill bacteria but not virus. Antibiotics taken even after a patient feels better is also harmful.
THE BOTTOM LINE IS
Every condition is unique. Some infections may be different from the other. Therefore, there should be a clearer guideline on every treatment.
It may be reasonable for one to stop taking antibiotics than to finish the whole course when a patient feels better. Skipping the remaining days of the prescription may or may not cause antibiotic resistance. The best thing to do is to see a doctor for the patient to be re-assessed.
It is not that everyone should stop taking antibiotics. The bottom line is, everyone, including doctors and patients, should have a clear and correct knowledge of antibiotics. It is important to recognize their power, their downsides, and their dosage.