Time to drop ‘complete the course’ antibiotic message

The deeply embedded message that patients should “complete the course” of antibiotics to avoid antibiotic resistance is not backed by evidence and should be dropped, argue experts in the BMJ.

In fact, they say it’s more dangerous for patients to be treated longer than necessary, than the other way around.

It’s time to drop this message because it is incorrect and not evidence-based, say Professor Martin Llewelyn, from the Brighton and Sussex Medical School, and colleagues.

One reason it may be so resilient is that it is simple and unambiguous, and the behaviour it advocates