Antibiotics

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 respiratory tract infections (such as whooping cough and pneumonia), and skin and urinary tract infections.

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 how to take your antibiotics, if alcohol will affect your antibiotics, and if antibiotics can affect your contraceptive.

Using antibiotics when you don’t need them (e.g. if you have a cold or flu) can contribute to the problem of antibiotic resistance. Find out more about what antibiotic resistance is and what you can do to prevent it.

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.

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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, only prescribe an antibiotic:1

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

In Australia, antibiotic resistance in common pathogens causing RTIs has increased over the past 20 years. Stretococcus pneumoniae resistance to macrolide antibiotics has increased from 8.7% in 1994 to 20.4% in 2007, and this trend is continues.

Our CPD activities

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

For your patients

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

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

Other tools and resources

Reference
  1. Therapeutic Guidelines: Antibiotic. 14th edn. Melbourne: Therapeutic Guidelines Ltd, 2010.

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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.

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Latest information - antibiotics

Audience:
       

For health professionals (Condition)
19 Nov 2014 There are limited data for empirical use of antibiotics in aged-care facilities. See treatment algorithm based on expert opinion
For health professionals (Condition)
19 Nov 2014 Residents of aged-care facilities may be at risk of antibiotic resistant organisms by inappropriate use of antibiotics or contact with multidrug-resistant E coli carriers
For health professionals (Condition)
19 Nov 2014 Diagnosing UTI in aged-care residents requires assessment of new signs and symptoms of genitourinary tract disease and consideration of other possible diagnoses
For health professionals (Health professional publication)
19 Nov 2014 Antibiotic resistance is a growing concern in aged-care facilities. Maintaining good urinary tract health and being aware of the most vulnerable patients helps
For health professionals (Tool / resource)
18 Nov 2014 Antibiotic resistance is a growing concern in aged-care facilities. Maintaining good urinary tract health and being aware of the most vulnerable patients helps
For health professionals (Health professional publication)
18 Nov 2014 Treating urinary tract infections (UTIs) with antibiotics creates antibiotic resistant bacteria; a major problem. Can anything be done to prevent this?
For health professionals (Topic)
25 Sep 2014 A pledge to fight antibiotic resistance for doctors, GPs and other health professionals
For health professionals (Health professional publication)
29 Aug 2014 Uncomplicated UTI in women usually requires antibiotic treatment; recurrent UTI sometimes antibiotic prophylaxis. With increased antimicrobial resistance now worldwide, and non-antibiotic options, can antibiotic use be reduced or even eliminated altogether?
For health professionals (Condition)
19 Aug 2014 Reserve antibiotic prophylaxis for high-risk patients with catheters and always consider other strategies for preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs) such as limiting the duration of time required with a catheter.
For health professionals (Condition)
19 Aug 2014 Relapses of urinary tract infections (UTIs) should be treated as for cystitis or pyelonephritis. Reserve intermittent self-treatment for some women only.