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Views & Reviews Personal View

Women should be able to get antibiotics for urinary tract infection without a prescription

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h3441 (Published 14 July 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h3441

Re: Women should be able to get antibiotics for urinary tract infection without a prescription

In principle, I agree with Dr Knox and, as is stated in the article, the saving to the NHS would be considerable.

There are countries outside the UK where antibiotics can be purchased OTS without a prescription and I am unaware of any problems arising from this practice.

Dr Knox recommends Nitrofurantoin, but there are other antibacterials with a better side effect profile from which to choose. And I would not recommend Trimethoprim which, in my experience, is less effective than other medicines.

Clearly, there would have to be guidelines for the dispenser and caveats for the patient in respect of recurrent episodes and recognising the symptoms of 'red flag' infections such as pyelitis and septicaemia.

That said, overall, I consider this would be a good move.

Competing interests: No competing interests

19 July 2015
Stuart Sanders
GP
London