Question your doctor about your antibiotic prescription

I gave a talk at the Canadian Society for Laboratory Science annual general meeting today concerning antibiotic resistance. In it I suggested that everyone has a role in the solution to the problem. Afterward someone asked me if they should question their physician more thoroughly when they are given a prescription. It is something I have been asked before and have generally been reluctant to suggest that questioning their doctor’s prescription decision was appropriate. I have been very conscious of the need for a cooperative, blameless approach.

I have changed my mind.

Everyone should demand very specific information about all antibiotic prescriptions. You should be aware of the exact diagnosis, the expected course of illness and symptoms that would suggest need for further medical assessment. Discussions of alternatives are completely appropriate. If your doctor can’t or won’t give you the information you want consider another opinion.

Taking antibiotics is serious business and deserves serious personal consideration. The more questions asked the better.