Shorter courses of antibiotics better after all?

Well this is embarrassing.  I made a whole thing about how you should always finish your antibiotics, to the point of using microchips to enforce it, because if you don’t you get antibiotic resistant bacteria, which are the worst things ever.  Then it turns out maybe we take antibiotics for way too long and that doesn’t make us any healthier but it does cause antibiotic resistance (ignore the clickbaity headline, the article is reasonable). Maybe.  The studies they cite, comparing results for treatment of different duration, fail to show a statistically significant difference between different lengths of treatment, but that is not the same as showing there is no clinically significant difference between them (this is the difference between failing to prove Joe murdered Bob and conclusively proving Joe didn’t murder Bob).  Nonetheless, my assertions were unsupported and I should feel unsupported.

The author proposes several mechanisms by which shorter antibiotics courses could help more and cause less resistance, all of which seem plausible, but then so did the mechanisms by which long courses helped.  Further research is needed blah blah blah.  The real concern is how did we go this long with such rigid rules based on nothing more than “eh, this seems about right”

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