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Dose "should consider patient size"

Doctors prescribing antibiotics may have to take into account a patient's size, as this can influence the effectiveness of treatment, experts said.

Due to the fact that people are getting larger, a "one-size fits all" dose of antibiotics for all adults is outdated, two doctors from Greece and the US have argued.

A person's size and proportion can affect the concentration of antibiotics and potentially reduce their effectiveness, they said.

The ensuing failure to clear infection because a dose is too small can then increase the risk of drug resistance, they continued.

Conversely, smaller than average patients may suffer more side-effects due to receiving too much of a drug, the experts warned.

An editorial in The Lancet to accompany the study said that more work was required to guide GPs on how and when they need to change doses.

It added that dose adjustments could easily be made if there was enough accompanying research.

Professor Steve Field, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said a lot of patients were given antibiotics unnecessarily and that he would encourage "appropriate" prescribing.

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Royal College of General Practitioners