A recent study suggests you shouldn’t finish a full course of antibiotics. If you are already feeling better, taking the medicine until the bottle is empty is not only unnecessary. In fact, it might turn out really dangerous, as you risk developing antibiotic resistance.
People take more antibiotics than they need
Patients tend to take more pills than they need. When they receive an antibiotic prescription, they usually take every single pill the doctors told them to, even after they have started feeling better. They say people do this for fear of taking the treatment wrong and not getting rid of the nasty symptoms.
However, there isn’t any solid proof that doctors always recommend the minimum of pills a person should take. Therefore, it doesn’t always mean that, if you take a smaller number of pills than the doctor told you, your treatment will fail and you won’t be cured.
Where does this practice originate?
The study, published in the British Medical Journal, has documented this practice since the dawn of antibiotics. This is how they discovered that doctors didn’t have solid evidence when they recommended a certain duration of an antibiotic treatment, as these habits hadn’t changed much since 1941.
Back in those times, if a patient ran out of antibiotics to take (in this case, we’re talking about penicillin), his condition started getting worse, and returning to its previous state. This often led to his death. However, doctors had to evidence to show them why this happened. They formed a conviction that a longer treatment should cure patients, but they didn’t consider the possibility of them developing antibiotic resistance.
In the meantime, scientists will continue their research on the optimal medicine dosage people should take. Until they find an answer, patients should recognize antibiotics are some sort of a natural resource. This means they shouldn’t abuse them, and take them wisely.
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