Common Chronic ConditionsHealth Trends

The ideal duration of antibiotic treatment is a moving target

For some infections, the ideal duration of antibiotic treatment is shorter than what is typically prescribed. The medical field is grappling with this and trying to make changes in part to slow down the problem of antibiotic resistance globally. There is a fine balance. Stopping antibiotics too early may cause the infection to relapse while too long a duration may lead to more side effects and contribute to emergence of resistance.

Now what? The best plan is still to rely on the healthcare provider’s recommendation and follow their instructions. As an informed patient, it is reasonable to discuss the duration with the healthcare provider. For infections commonly seen in general practice, most recommended courses last between three and seven days. For more serious infections requiring hospitalization, the recommendations are generally a little longer, but may be several weeks for deep and severe infections. If you develop side effects, notify your healthcare provider.

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