Taking antibiotics until the end of treatment may be harmful


As a rule, the indication given to patients is invariably the same, “You must take the antibiotic without interruption for the prescribed period. But, according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal, the “prescribed period” actually goes far beyond what would be necessary and this turns out to have a perverse effect, since it enhances the resistance of the human body to bacteria, Precisely the justification given for the antibiotic to be taken to the end.

“Historically, antibiotic therapy was guided by the fear of under-treatment, with fewer concerns about over-consumption”, said Martin Llewelyn, a professor of infectious diseases at Brighton and Sussex Medical School in southern England. In a speech challenging traditional and widespread medical practices, the lead author of this study finds that “the idea that stopping antibiotic treatments earlier encourages antibiotic resistance is not supported by facts, while taking antibiotics for longer periods That what is needed increases this risk of resistance”, said Llewelyn, quoted by the Telegraph. “We encourage policymakers, educators and doctors to stop advocating ‘full-blown’ when they communicate with the public”, he said.

In this study they developed, it was concluded that prolonged taking of antibiotics potentiates the formation of dangerous bacteria that grow on the skin and the stomach and that this can cause problems later. Thus, even though it is in the antithesis of the convention, the longer the intake is, the stronger the resistance.

The conception that shorter antibiotic use weakens resistance to bacteria is old, is over 70 years old. It was Alexander Fleming, Nobel Prize for Medicine, who stressed in the very speech of the ceremony where he received the distinction, the importance of taking complete shots: “If you take penicillin, take enough”.

Already the Spanish daily El Mundo is advancing with some examples of excessive intake taking advantage of a study led by Martin Llewelyn, in which in some cases can be up to four times greater than necessary. We have the example of intra-abdominal infections; the general rule is that the antibiotic should be taken between seven and 14 days. But according to this new study, four days of taking antibiotics is enough to resolve the infection.

In other cases, the difference is less significant. For example, for otitis, the ten days usually recommended for the intake should be replaced by only five. And for tonsillitis, the antibiotic should not be taken beyond six days (with a minimum of three), when the current prescriptions are 10 days.