A large study of electronic health records in the United Kingdom has found a link between the number of antibiotic prescriptions and the risk of infection-related hospitalization.

The study, published today in BMC Medicine, found that patients with more antibiotic prescriptions had a higher risk of infection-related hospital admissions over time, with the risk increasing along with the number of prescriptions. Patients who had received more than nine antibiotic courses in the previous 3 years were found to be more than twice as likely to be admitted to the hospital with an infection within 3 to 6 months as those who’d received one course of antibiotics or fewer.

The authors of the study say the findings indicate that repeated prescribing of antibiotics, a common practice in UK primary care offices, has limited clinical benefit and could be increasing the risk of adverse outcomes.

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Risk rises with number of prescriptions

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