This section of the website is for UK healthcare professionals only. If you are not a healthcare professional, please click here.
This section of the website is for UK healthcare professionals only. If you are not a healthcare professional, please click here.

This section of the website is for members of the public. If you are a healthcare professional,visit the HCP section of the site. This website is not intended to replace the advice of a healthcare professional. You should consult your doctor or another suitably trained healthcare provider when considering what type of treatment is most appropriate for you.


This web page is to help you understand about antibiotics and how antibiotic resistance might impact you.

Antibiotics

What are Antibiotics?1

Antibiotics are used to treat or prevent some types of bacterial infection. They work by killing bacteria or preventing them from reproducing and spreading. But they don’t work for everything.

Antibiotics don't work for viral infections such as colds and flu, and most coughs and sore throats.

Antibiotics may be used to treat bacterial infections that:

  • are unlikely to clear up without antibiotics
  • could infect others unless treated
  • could take too long to clear without treatment
  • carry a risk of more serious complications

People at a high risk of infection may also be given antibiotics as a precaution, known as antibiotic prophylaxis.

Antibiotic resistance1

Both the NHS and health organisations across the world are trying to reduce the use of antibiotics, especially for conditions that aren't serious.

The overuse of antibiotics in recent years means they're becoming less effective and has led to the emergence of "superbugs". These are strains of bacteria that have developed resistance to many different types of antibiotics, including:

  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
  • Clostridium difficile  (C. diff)
  • the bacteria that cause Multi-Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB)
  • Carbapenemase-Producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE)

These types of infections can be serious and challenging to treat, and are becoming an increasing cause of disability and death across the world. The biggest worry is that new strains of bacteria may emerge that can't be effectively treated by any existing antibiotics.

References:

  1. NHS Choices https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/antibiotics/

Contact Information

Our address for correspondence is:
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Hertford Road,
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Hertfordshire,
EN11 9BU

Alternatively you can telephone: 01992 467272
Or Email: medicalinformationuk@merck.com

Reporting side effects: If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. This includes any possible side effects not listed in the package leaflet. Reporting forms and information can be found at www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard or search for MHRA Yellow Card in the Google Play or Apple App Store. By reporting side effects, you can help provide more information on the safety of this medicine.