Should Patients Take a Complete Course of Antibiotics? The Debate Ensues

Lauri A. Hicks, DO, Director, Office of Antibiotic Stewardship, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, explains an area of debate in the general medical field regarding antibiotics.

Lauri A. Hicks, DO, Director, Office of Antibiotic Stewardship, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, explains an area of debate in the general medical field regarding antibiotics.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

“One of the challenges with talking to patients about taking a complete course of antibiotics is that (in dentistry in particular) we really don’t know what the optimal duration of therapy is for a lot of dental conditions. In some instances, it may be better for the patient not to receive an antibiotic at all.

This is an area of debate right now in the general medical field with respect to antibiotics. There’s a lot of debate about whether taking the full course of antibiotics is better, or whether taking the antibiotic until you feel better is the best course of action. I think what is needed is studies to shed light on what the optimal duration of therapy is for each and every condition that we treat with antibiotics.”