Prescribing “just in case” antibiotics

We are often asked by patients to prescribe “just in case” antibiotics, especially when travelling abroad.

There are two scenarios where it is recommended:

  1. Patients with COPD with predictable exacerbations
  2. Patients with recurrent urine infections reliably related to sexual intercourse

In all other scenarios it is not recommended. This is for several reasons:

  1. it is not covered by our contract as an NHS service
  2. it is not recommended in terms of antibiotic stewardship as likely leads to inappropriate targeting of antibiotic use and increased resistance
  3. it is not recommended for patient safety (it’s likely the antibiotics won’t be the correct ones for the infection you get, or even delay you seeking medical help if unwell)
  4. it is not recommended by our medicolegal insurance company as we are prescribing a drug without an indication or follow up or clinical assessment
  5. it leads to increased waste as the antibiotics are likely to expire before use

You can view further information about antibiotic stewardship here:

What is Antibiotic Resistance? – YouTube – video by PHE -could add this to your practice website?

Antibiotic resistance – NHS (– brief explanation on antibiotic resistance and superbugs.

Awareness of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Animation – YouTube

NHS England » Antimicrobial resistance (AMR)