Lending even more credence to my concerns about the overuse of antibiotics in conventional medicine, a British study has found the use of antibiotics within the previous two months doubles a patient’s risk of carrying antibiotic resistant bacteria. The same result wasn’t found in patients prescribed antibiotics within the past 12 months, however.

General practitioners prescribe about 80 percent of all antibiotics in the UK, even though the main reason they do it — respiratory infections — hasn’t been found to be effective at all.

After testing urine samples from 3,000 adult patients, researchers discovered bacterial resistance and antibiotic consumption in more than 20 percent of them. Antibiotics prescribed in the 12 months prior to obtaining the urine sample did not influence the resistance of organisms – presumably because the time period in question is too long. But the more recent use of antibiotics — within two months — led to a near doubling of resistance.

Over a 12-month period prior to sampling, each additional tablet of trimethoprim prescribed increased the chances of developing resistance. Also, the degree of resistance to amoxicillin was greater in patients prescribed any penicillin antibiotic in the 12 months prior to the sampling.

Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, May 31, 2005

EurekAlert July 19, 2005