Find reliable independent health and treatment information about antibiotics written by Australian experts. This includes resources for consumers and health professionals.

About antibiotics

Antibiotics are medicines used to treat a wide variety of infections or diseases caused by bacteria including:

If you are prescribed antibiotics, it is important that you follow your health professional’s advice on when, how, and for how long to take them. Find out more about:

Using antibiotics when you don’t need them (eg, if you have a cold or flu) can contribute to the problem of antibiotic resistance. Find out more about:

You can also search for your antibiotic by type or brand name.

Find out more

Join the fight against antibiotic resistance

NPS MedicineWise antibiotic resistance pledge badge

The development of antibiotics was one of the most important advances of medicine. Now, because of the overuse and misuse of antibiotics, bacterial infections that were once easily cured with antibiotics are becoming harder to treat.

This is due to antibiotic resistance. It has been identified by the WHO as one of the greatest threats to human health today.

Take the pledge now

For health professionals  

Prescribing a routine course of antibiotics significantly increases the likelihood of an individual carrying a resistant bacterial strain – resistant bacteria can be spread to family, friends and the broader community. To minimise antibiotic resistance, Australian guidelines recommend that an antibiotic should only be prescribed:

  • when benefits to the patient are likely to be substantial
  • with the narrowest spectrum to treat the likely pathogen
  • at the appropriate dose and for the appropriate duration.

Staphylococcus aureus that is methicillin-resistant (MRSA), and therefore resistant to all β-lactam antibiotics, is widespread, with skin and soft tissue infections among the most common sources. Although most of the data describe the problem in hospital settings, there is an emerging picture of antibiotic resistance in community settings across Australia.

Find out more about using antibiotics wisely for skin infections.

Our CPD activities

Consolidate your knowledge on antibiotics, brush up on current guidelines and practices and earn CPD points through our learning activities.

Clinical information

The information below is intended for health professionals. It uses the latest guidelines and evidence to help health professionals further understand the issues around antibiotic resistance. It also includes tools and resources to help educate patients and carers

For your patients

Use the following tools and resources especially designed for use in your consultations with patients.

Other tools and resources

Take the pledge

a doctor speaking to an elderly gentleman patient

Antibiotic resistance is everyone's problem. All health professionals have a responsibility to preserve the miracle of antibiotics.

If you are prescribing, dispensing or working with people taking antibiotics, take the pledge and help reduce the threat of antibiotic resistance.

Take the health professional pledge now

Related information - antibiotics


For health professionals (Topic)
23 Dec 2015 A pledge to fight antibiotic resistance for doctors, GPs and other health professionals
(Media release)
20 Nov 2015 A free online continuing professional development (CPD) course on antimicrobial prescribing and antibiotic resistance is available for health professionals and students. Find out more.
(Media release)
20 Nov 2015 Antibiotic Awareness Week 2015 calls for a cultural shift in the use of antibiotics in Australia. Read more and take the pledge to fight antibiotic resistance here.
(Media release)
19 Nov 2015 Antibiotic Awareness Week 2015 raises awareness about appropriate use of antibiotics for skin and soft tissue infections. Read more about preventing antibiotic resistance.
(Media release)
16 Nov 2015 During Antibiotic Awareness Week 2015, Australian general practitioners (GPs) will receive information about their antibiotic prescribing patterns. Read more.
(Media release)
16 Nov 2015 Antibiotic Awareness Week from 16-22 November 2015 focuses attention on the problem of antibiotic resistance. Read more about handling antibiotics with care.
For health professionals (Medicine)
13 Nov 2015 Learn about wise use of antibiotics for skin infections, especially in bite and clenched fist injuries.
For health professionals (Health professional publication)
13 Nov 2015 Bites and clenched fist injuries are common sites of skin infections but may not require antibiotics. Read more about assessing risk of infection in skin wounds and prescribing appropriately.
(Tool / resource)
10 Nov 2015 Antibiotic Awareness Week 2015 encourages everyone to use antibiotics responsibly to limit antibiotic resistance. Find consumer resources including posters and videos, here.
(Tool / resource)
10 Nov 2015 Antibiotic Awareness Week 2015 encourages everyone to use antibiotics responsibly to limit antibiotic resistance. Find health professional resources including posters and videos, here.