Intended for healthcare professionals


Prescribing antibiotics in primary care

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 30 August 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:407
  1. Chris Del Mar, dean
  1. Health Sciences and Medicine, Bond University, Gold Coast, QLD 4229 Australia
  1. cdelmar{at}

    Studies of antibiotic resistance emphasise the importance of conserving this non-renewable resource

    In this week's BMJ, Chung and colleagues report that community prescribing of a β lactam antibiotic for acute respiratory infection doubled the prevalence of antibiotic resistant bacteria in individual children.1 This antibiotic resistance was transferred as a gene encoding β lactamase from other species of bacteria to Haemophilus. What do these results mean for the future of antibiotic prescribing in general practice?

    Antibiotic resistance will probably eventually appear by natural selection for every new antibiotic developed by the drug industry, and the race to produce new drugs ahead of resistance is run ever closer. Antibiotics should be thought of like oil, a non-renewable resource to be carefully husbanded. What we use now cannot be used some time in the future.

    The problem is that there is no scientific solution to convincing people not to seize for their own benefit a common …

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