Treatments using antibiotics should stop as soon as possible to prevent patients becoming resistant to their effects, new research has shown, according to Medical News Daily.
A team of researchers led by Professor Robert Beardmore from the University of Exeter, has uncovered interesting new evidence that suggests that reducing the length of the antibiotic’s course can reduce the risk of resistance.
The researchers examined how microbial communities reacted to different antibiotic cycling patterns.They were surprised to find that changes both in the duration and dose of antibiotics pushes microbial communities beyond their “tipping point”: an irreversible shift to becoming drug resistant.
The researchers insist that this new study shows that resistant species can increase within the body even after an antibiotic is withdrawn, if a tipping point was passed during treatment.
Professor Beardmore, a mathematical biosciences expert from the University of Exeter said that: “It’s a sensible idea that when you take an antibiotic away, resistance goes away too, but we wondered what kinds of antibiotic treatments don’t behave like that. After all, in some clinical studies, resistance didn’t disappear when the antibiotic did.”
Antibiotic resistance happens when microbes develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them and so multiply unhindered. Antibiotics are the most effective treatment for most microbial infections, including strep throat and pneumonia.
Patients have been told for years that they need to complete courses of antibiotics because too few tablets would allow bacteria to mutate and become resistant. However, it has nowbeen potentially proven that the longer microbes are exposed to antibiotics, the more likely it is that resistance will develop.