September 4, 2017 – How Long?


Anchor lead: How long do you really need to take an antibiotic? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Common wisdom has it that you should always complete an antibiotic prescription, often for seven to ten days, but now a new study in the Lancet calls the practice into question. Patricia Davidson, dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, says the analysis is somewhat conflicted.

Davidson: I’ve tried to process the data and process the evidence and a lot of it is conjecture and supposition. We don’t necessarily have randomized controlled trials of someone taking two days or three days, but there is data to show that you don’t necessarily need seven days for many infections. So I think we’ve got a lot of work as a scientific community to really look at these issues. Part of what we need to challenge is antibiotic use across the community.  :27

By community Davidson specifically cites antibiotic use in domestic animals as a practice that is contributing to the spread of antibiotic resistant organisms. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.