Shorter antibiotic courses have health benefits but more evidence needed before prescription overhaul

30 May 2018

An investigator-sponsored clinical trial presented at the recent European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) conference in Madrid, Spain indicated a seven-day antibiotic course delivered similar outcomes to a 14-day course for Gram-negative bacteremia. Whilst there are health benefits to a shortened treatment, more studies are needed to change prescribing behaviors, experts noted.

Benefits of shortening antibiotic courses include a healthier microbiome (the genetic makeup of micro-organisms in the body) and a reduced risk for drug resistance development. Whilst this research is another piece of evidence towards shortening courses of antibiotics and improving health aspects, it is not yet sufficient to change overall prescription patterns, experts said.

Longer durations of branded antibiotics include a 14-day course of Allergan's Teflaro (ceftaroline fosamil) for acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections with bacteremia, a 21- day course of Theravance Biopharma's Vibativ (telavancin) for hospital-acquired and ventilator-associated bacterial pneumonia and a 14-day course of Shionogi's S-649266 in development against indications including complicated urinary tract infections (cUTI) and sepsis.

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