Common infections, their complications, antibiotic prescribing and resistance: Moving away from simple correlations. (PhD fellowship for Rebecca Cannings-John)

Department of Health

Principal / Lead Investigator
Prof Chris Butler

Prof Frank Dunstan, Rebecca Cannings-John

Type of study

Use of antibiotics over the last 50 years has grown, leading to great improvements in dealing with infectious diseases. However, the threat to public health from antimicrobial resistant bacteria has been increasingly recognised, with growing evidence suggesting that antibiotic use is a major driver of resistance. RTIs are the most commonly seen infections in primary care and management of which are antibiotics, usually considered for resolving symptoms and preventing complications. Antibiotics were more appropriate in the treatment of serious complications in the past where the risks of complications developing were higher. However, evidence shows that RTIs are often self-limiting and more often than not unlikely to cause complications if left untreated. In light of this, general practitioners have reduced their antibiotic prescribing in this area. However, concerns have been raised that instead of reducing inappropriate prescribing, a ‘blanket’ reduction in prescribing has occurred indicating that appropriate prescribing may also be decreasing. Patients most likely to benefit from antibiotics may therefore be harmed through unintended adverse events such as complications that can arise from untreated RTIs, such as pneumonia and rheumatic fever which had become rare. The aim of this thesis is to explore the hypothesis that reduced levels of community antibiotic prescribing in the community may be associated with increases in complications arising from common RTIs.

Link with RDG / CSG or similar

Start date
January 2006

End date