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.

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Pledge to fight 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


13 Sep 2016 Antibiotic Awareness Week from 14-20 November 2016 has the theme
For health professionals (Topic)
08 Sep 2016 A pledge to fight antibiotic resistance for doctors, GPs and other health professionals
For health professionals
11 Aug 2016 People with asymptomatic bacteriuria are at an increased risk of developing symptomatic UTI. But treatment will not decrease this risk or improve other outcomes other than in populations for whom treatment of asymptomatic bacteriuria has been shown to be beneficial. Read about treatment for asymptomatic bacteriuria on the NPS MedicineWise website.
09 Aug 2016 Recommendations from the Australian and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine on treatment of mental and physical disorders in elderly patients.
(Media release)
01 Aug 2016 An analysis of the evidence in the latest issue of Australian Prescriber suggests antibiotics have very few benefits for treating sore throat and acute sinusitis. Both conditions are common reasons for visits to the doctor.
For health professionals (Health professional publication)
20 Jul 2016 For the first time, a comprehensive picture of antimicrobial use and resistance in Australia is now available in one report – AURA 2016: First Australian report on antimicrobial use and resistance in human health, released by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.
(Media release)
18 Jul 2016 The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, as part of the Choosing Wisely Australia® initiative, is encouraging patients to engage in an active discussion with their GP around the appropriate prescribing of antibiotics for middle ear infections (otitis media). For the vast majority of children an antibiotic will not be required.
(Media release)
08 Jul 2016 With cold and flu season underway, NPS MedicineWise has released an interactive online case study tailored by audience to GPs, pharmacists and nurses on otitis media and antibiotic prescribing.
(Media release)
06 Jul 2016 NPS MedicineWise has written to child care centres across Australia to enlist their support in responding to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. Child care staff are well placed to help with education and increase awareness around the misuse of antibiotics in young children.
21 Jun 2016 Antibiotic resistance is a threat to public health. Make a promise to help reduce prescribing of antibiotics.