New advice for antibiotics

Media Release 

As part of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is urging pharmacists to work with patients to take antibiotics for the number of days advised by the prescriber.

To support pharmacists and patients, the cautionary advisory label (CAL D) for antibiotics has been revised and will be published in the next edition of the Australian Pharmaceutical Formulary (APF25) due for release January 2021.

PSA National President Associate Professor Chris Freeman says the revised label is a change to the previous recommendations and is the result of comprehensive stakeholder consultation.

“This is one of a multitude of actions to help combat bacterial resistance to antibiotics,” he says.

“Taking antibiotics for longer than necessary does not improve outcomes and increases the risk of acquiring resistant organisms.

“As the revised CAL D presents a change in behaviour for patients, pharmacists need to work with patients on the appropriate duration of treatment for antibiotics.

“Pharmacists should confirm that patients are aware of treatment duration and if a patient is not aware, or it is not specified on the prescription, the pharmacist should consult with the prescriber to confirm the intended duration.”

Under the new guidance, patients should stop taking the antibiotic when the prescribed duration of treatment is complete and any unused antibiotics should be returned to the pharmacy for disposal.

Pharmacists are also reminded to discuss with patients the importance of contacting the prescriber if their symptoms worsen or do not improve in the timeframe advised.

Text by: The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia