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Antibiotic resistance is also causing problems for patients in primary healthcare

This further highlights the importance of the primary care GPs and nurses in the fight against AMR!

A recent study (1) shows that antibiotic resistance significantly impacts patients with common infections managed in primary and ambulatory care. The findings challenge the perception that antibiotic resistance is mainly a risk for hospital patients.

The  researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 26 studies including over 5 500 patients with bacterial infections. Of these infections, 22.4% were antibiotic-resistant. The research shows that  patients with an antibiotic-resistant urinary and respiratory tract infection are more likely to experience clinical response failures after treatment with antibiotics. For example, patients with antibiotic-resistant E. coli urinary tract infection had both prolonged and more severe symptoms than patients with antibiotic-sensitive infections.

In their recent article (2), two of the study authors discuss the background and findings of their research. The authors write that almost 80% of all antibiotics are prescribed by GPs or nurses for common infections such as respiratory and urinary tract infections. “The biggest culprit contributing to antibiotic resistance is that far too many antibiotics are being used for infections that would otherwise have improved on their own.” Diagnostic uncertainty and patient expectations may contribute to antibiotic overuse. The authors emphasize that antibiotic resistance really has relevance to the health of each and every one of us – here and now. “A better understanding of antibiotic resistance should allow more meaningful discussions between patients and their GPs about the risks and benefits of antibiotic treatment of common infections”, they write.

1.    van Hecke O, Wang K, Lee JJ, Roberts NW, Butler CC. The implications of antibiotic resistance for patients’ recovery from common infections in the community: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Clin Infect Dis 2017 Mar 20. doi: 10.1093/cid/cix233 [Epub ahead of print]. Link to study abstract:
2.    van Hecke O, Butler C. It’s false to believe that antibiotic resistance is only a problem in hospitals – GP surgeries are seeing it too. The Conversation, April 18, 2015. Read the full article on The Conversation at