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Higher antibiotic doses for obese

15th January 2010

Doctors have warned that rising rates of obesity may need to lead to a change in dose strength of antibiotics.


They say that as people get bigger the standard ‘one-size fits all’ dose may not clear infections in larger adults and increases the risk that resistance will develop.

An editorial in The Lancet, following research in Greece and America, says that GPs will need guidance on when to change doses according to a person’s size.

Size and the proportion of body fat can affect the concentration of antibiotics in the body, possibly reducing their effectiveness. However, while it may affect obese people there are also concerns that smaller people may be getting too much of a drug.

The Lancet says that dose adjustments could easily be made if research was done to guide doctors in treating obese patients.

Royal College of GPs chair Professor Steve Field said: “Patients are getting taller and larger and it does seem right that patients are given the appropriate strength of drug.

However, this might cost a lot of money because pharmaceutical companies would have to provide different doses of medication. At the moment, most come in two strengths and we would not want to see an increase in costs.”

Antibiotics expert Professor Hugh Pennington from the University of Aberdeen said it would be difficult to conduct effective studies on how size altered the effectiveness of such drugs.

The number of people classed as obese in England has risen from 15% in 1993 to 25% today.


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Article Information

Title: Higher antibiotic doses for obese
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 13780
Date Added: 15th Jan 2010


BBC News

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