The authors of the paper in the BMJ call for a change of message regarding antibiotic use, arguing that patients are actually being put at unnecessary risk from antibiotic resistance when treatment is given for longer than necessary, rather than when it is stopped early, as commonly believed.
Lead author, Martin J Llewelyn, Professor of Infectious Diseases at BSMS, said: “While the ‘complete the course’ message is one we all know, we have found that it is time for this message to change. The belief that stopping antibiotic treatment increases the risk of antibiotic resistance is not supported by evidence. In fact, this risk is actually increased by taking antibiotics for longer than is necessary.”
The researchers ask for policy makers, educators, and doctors to drop this message and state that this was not evidence-based and is incorrect.