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Patients need better antibiotics advice and support

By News team

Pharmacists and GPs should manage patient needs and expectations relating to antibiotic prescribing in an attempt to tackle increasing antimicrobial resistance, according to an expert group that convened recently at the Royal Society of Medicine in London.

Published today (18 November 2011) to coincide with European Antibiotic Awareness Day, the group’s recommendations include the need for pharmacists and GPs to learn about patients’ expectations regarding antibiotic prescribing, because some patients want reassurance rather than a medicine.

The roundtable discussion was attended by a multidisciplinary group including Philip Howard, consultant pharmacist for antimicrobials at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Jonathan Mason, the Department of Health’s national clinical director of primary care and community pharmacy.

The group is also calling for pharmacists and GPs to explain to patients that "not everything can be cured with an antibiotic" and are advocating self-management for minor ailments where appropriate.

"It comes down to education of pharmacy staff — getting the message across to patients that antibiotics are not always the answer for self-limiting conditions and that self-care is probably the best option," said Mr Mason.

Also recommended is the need for pharmacists and GPs to provide clear advice when an antibiotic is prescribed, including an explanation that minor side-effects, such as diarrhoea, can occur but are not a reason to stop the medicine and should not be considered an allergic reaction.

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Citation: The Pharmaceutical JournalURI: 11089569

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