Up To Half Of Antibiotics 'Fail Due To Superbugs' Study Finds

Rebecca Smith | The Telegraph | September 26, 2014

GPs are increasingly handing out antibiotics that turn out to be useless, as up to half of courses of the drugs 'fail' and result in further treatment, a study has found.  Groundbreaking research has analysed 11m courses of antibiotics prescribed to British patients over the last 22 years covering the most common diseases areas including tonsilitis, pneumonia and ear infections.  Scientists said the findings were 'bleak' with one in six courses of antibiotics failing in 2012 but for some drugs this was more than one in two.

Experts and governments have warned that antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest threats to modern health care yet prescriptions of the drugs by family doctors continues to increase.  GPs have admitted prescribing antibiotics to 'get rid of' patients.

It comes after the Telegraph revealed that GPs in some areas of the country are prescribing twice as many antibiotics as in others, with rates lowest in London and highest in the north of the country.  Cardiff University researchers found that as GP prescriptions of antibiotics rose in recent years so did the proportion of the treatment courses that ended in failure.  This was defined as when patients needed another course of drugs within a month, were admitted to hospital with an infection within 30 days, had other complicating factors relating to infection or died from conditions relating to the infection...