Antibiotics of little benefit to patient recovery say scientists

COMMONLY prescribed antibiotics do not help patients get better quicker, research by Southampton scientists has revealed.

A study led by the University of Southampton discovered that the antibiotic amoxicillin is no more effective at relieving symptoms than having no medication at all.

The drug, often used by doctors to treat chest infections such as bronchitis, was shown to make little difference in patients, even among the elderly.

In the study, 2,061 adults with chest infections across Europe were randomly assigned to receive either amoxicillin or a placebo three times a day for seven days.

Results found little difference in severity or duration of symptoms reported between the two groups.

This was true even for older patients aged 60 or more, who were generally healthy, where the drugs appeared to have a very limited effect.

Side effects Although significantly more patients in the placebo group experienced new or worsening symptoms – 19 per cent compared to 16 per cent – just two patients in the placebo group and one in the antibiotic group required hospitalisation.

Patients taking antibiotics reported significantly more side effects including nausea, rash, and diarrhoea, than those given placebo.

Paul Little, professor of primary care at the University of Southampton, said: “Patients given amoxicillin don’t recover much quicker or have significantly fewer symptoms.

“Indeed, using amoxicillin to treat respiratory infections in patients not suspected of having pneumonia is not likely to help and could be harmful.

“Our results show that most people get better on their own. But, given that a small number of patients will benefit from antibiotics, the challenge remains to identify these individuals.”

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10:27am Fri 4 Jan 13

Sovietobserver says...

Thank you Professor Little for revealing these facts.My GP prescribed Amoxicillin last October for a two week course,stating that it would disperse and eradicate my ailment, which I wholly doubted, and disputed with him that the desired outcome would not be physically possible to achieve with Amoxicillin, but he still continued with doubtful explanations and unbelievable excuses. As expected it had nil effect, and on the second visit he prescribed me Cefalexin,for a further week, another anti-biotic, still with nil effect.
In hindsight I wonder if my GP was just taking a random shot to see if I was in the 1%-2% of patients that might benefit, and therefore save the NHS further expense involving a consultant ? I call that callous.
After a further examination and some pleading I was granted an appointment with a consultant, who completely dismissed the anti-biotic treatment as totally useless, but fortunately arranged an Ultrasound test for me, but stated any question of the necessary surgery required could be restricted by finances.
So now ,still suffering three months on, with my condition worsening and verging on disablement by the week , and no more communication from the health authority, I've lost all faith with my GP and the NHS. In reflection the anti-biotics exercise in the majority of cases as this report shows, is a waste of NHS finances and time, and would be better allocated if spent on front line hospital treatment that IMHO would give me some prospect of long awaited relief.
I now resign to the fact that ,I, like many others, are a victim of an ailing health system.
Thank you Professor Little for revealing these facts.My GP prescribed Amoxicillin last October for a two week course,stating that it would disperse and eradicate my ailment, which I wholly doubted, and disputed with him that the desired outcome would not be physically possible to achieve with Amoxicillin, but he still continued with doubtful explanations and unbelievable excuses. As expected it had nil effect, and on the second visit he prescribed me Cefalexin,for a further week, another anti-biotic, still with nil effect. In hindsight I wonder if my GP was just taking a random shot to see if I was in the 1%-2% of patients that might benefit, and therefore save the NHS further expense involving a consultant ? I call that callous. After a further examination and some pleading I was granted an appointment with a consultant, who completely dismissed the anti-biotic treatment as totally useless, but fortunately arranged an Ultrasound test for me, but stated any question of the necessary surgery required could be restricted by finances. So now ,still suffering three months on, with my condition worsening and verging on disablement by the week , and no more communication from the health authority, I've lost all faith with my GP and the NHS. In reflection the anti-biotics exercise in the majority of cases as this report shows, is a waste of NHS finances and time, and would be better allocated if spent on front line hospital treatment that IMHO would give me some prospect of long awaited relief. I now resign to the fact that ,I, like many others, are a victim of an ailing health system. Sovietobserver
  • Score: 0

12:17pm Fri 4 Jan 13

Subject48 says...

Well said Sovietobserver. I have been perscribed these on numerous occasions for chest infections. Had about 4 last year and have to say the antibiotics made Ef all difefrence.

I pay for my own medicine so I feel cheated I had to spend £12 each time. I trust my doctor as he has spent years studying his trade.

If you are a prisoner you get seen straight away. Something I noticed when I went to a clinic with my uncle.

It seems if you want free housing with food and excellent healthcare you might as well go on a crime spree and go jail. After all, if you work honestly for a living, you will get buried under the filth that comes crashing down from above...
Well said Sovietobserver. I have been perscribed these on numerous occasions for chest infections. Had about 4 last year and have to say the antibiotics made Ef all difefrence. I pay for my own medicine so I feel cheated I had to spend £12 each time. I trust my doctor as he has spent years studying his trade. If you are a prisoner you get seen straight away. Something I noticed when I went to a clinic with my uncle. It seems if you want free housing with food and excellent healthcare you might as well go on a crime spree and go jail. After all, if you work honestly for a living, you will get buried under the filth that comes crashing down from above... Subject48
  • Score: 0

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