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:

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.

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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, 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

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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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Related information - antibiotics

Audience:
       

(Topic)
21 Jun 2016 Antibiotic resistance is a threat to public health. Make a promise to help reduce prescribing of antibiotics.
For health professionals (CPD activity)
10 Jun 2016 Weigh up the need for antibiotics with two different cases of acute otitis media in this free CPD case study. Tailored versions for GPs, pharmacists and nurses
(Medicine)
31 May 2016 Insulin is commonly prescribed for type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. It's a hormone produced by the pancreas and is used to control blood sugar (glucose) levels. Read more about the benefits and side effects of insulin.
(Media release)
19 May 2016 A ‘Quick Reference Guide’ to antibiotic prescribing is being developed. Read more about this initiative, which was presented at the National Medicines Symposium.
(Medicine)
11 May 2016 Antibiotics are medicines that work by killing bacteria or stopping them from increasing in number. Find out more in English, Arabic and Chinese.
(Translated resource)
05 Apr 2016 您可以幫助制止抗生素耐藥性
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05 Apr 2016 您可以幫助制止抗生素耐藥性
(Translated resource)
05 Apr 2016 抗生素耐藥性是指抗生素類藥對細菌不再有效
(Translated resource)
05 Apr 2016 抗生素耐藥性是指抗生素類藥對細菌不再有效
(Translated resource)
05 Apr 2016 抗生素可引起副作用。詳細瞭解抗生素的副作用