A recent review found that most patients who waited up to 48 hours before taking antibiotics didn’t need them. Doctor Geoff Spurling from the University of Queensland said that “The findings of this review are reassuring on all these fronts. Antibiotic use fell from 93% in the immediate antibiotic group to 31% in the delayed antibiotic group. This is a really big reduction.”
“In 11 trials and over 3,500 participants, there was no increase in complications with a delayed script,” he said.
Australians are some of the biggest users of antibiotics in the world, which is causing a huge antibiotic resistance problem. A study by the Medical Journal of Australia found that over two million antibiotics are unnecessarily prescribed each year to Australians with colds.
“Compared to other countries with similar health systems, Australia uses an awful lot of antibiotics for respiratory tract infections. Many of these scripts are unnecessary,” Dr Spurling said.
Antibiotic resistance already contributes to tens of thousands of deaths each year,
“For some infections we are on our last line of defence with no new antibiotics in the pipeline. Imagine if we were unable to do routine orthopedic surgery, treat cancers with chemotherapy, or if people started dying from an infected skin cut or a urine infection,” Dr Spurling said.
“Delayed antibiotics is a safe and effective strategy which can make the job of reducing antibiotic use easier.”
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