Antibiotic resistance risk
Does recent use of antibiotics for respiratory tract infection increase individual risk of antibiotic resistance?
Individuals prescribed an antibiotic are more likely to test positive for antibiotic resistance within two months of treatment than those not prescribed one (OR 2.37; 95 % CI 1.42 to 3.95), according to a meta-analysis of studies of resistance in respiratory tract bacteria.1
Inform patients that they are twice as likely to carry resistant bacteria after a course of antibiotics than if they had not taken it.1-3
• Antibiotics are not appropriate for self-limiting respiratory tract infections
• After a routine course of antibiotics, the antibiotic is less likely to be effective if it is needed to treat a severe infection in the near future
• Infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria can be difficult to treat, last for a long time and spread to others.
Patients may be less inclined to take an antibiotic if they understand that it is unlikely to work and exposes them, and those around them, to the risk of harm.
Visit www.nps.org.au/antibiotics to order a symptomatic management pad and patient communication tool for use in consultations with patients with a respiratory tract infection.
It includes sample questions and statements to elicit patient concerns and management expectations, and outlines self-management approaches to help them feel better.
Provided by the NPS
1. Costelloe C, et al. BMJ 2010;340:c2096.
2. Nasrin D, et al. BMJ 2002;324:28-30.
3. Chung A, et al. BMJ 2007;335:429.
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