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A provocative new analysis suggests you don’t have to take all your antibiotics after all

The conventional wisdom about antibiotics is clear, simple and widely known: even if you’re feeling better, you have to take all the pills.

A provocative new analysis published in U.K. medical journal The BMJ suggests that might not be the whole story. There’s evidence that antibiotic courses could be shorter, which would help prevent the rising global threat of antibiotic resistance, the analysis released Wednesday argues. To that, experts say “right on” — antibiotic courses do need to be studied more, to figure out what the optimal length of treatment is.

The BMJ analysis — authored by Martin Llewelyn, professor of infectious diseases at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, among nine other professionals in the field of microbiology, epidemiology and health psychology — points to hospital-acquired pneumonia as an example, stating that data show shorter treatments work just as well as longer ones.

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