The antibiotic course has had its day | The BMJ

Key messages

  • Patients are put at unnecessary risk from antibiotic resistance when treatment is given for longer than necessary, not when it is stopped early

  • For common bacterial infections no evidence exists that stopping antibiotic treatment early increases a patient’s risk of resistant infection

  • Antibiotics are a precious and finite natural resource which should be conserved by tailoring treatment duration for individual patients

  • Clinical trials are required to determine the most effective strategies for optimising duration of antibiotic treatment