Viewer Question

What is the importance of taking the full daily dose and finishing all of the pills that are prescribed during a short-term course of treatment?

Doctor's Answer

The dose and duration of therapy with drugs usually is determined by scientific experiments.  In some diseases, for example, infections, it takes a certain length of time of exposure to a specific dose of an antibiotic or antiviral drug in order to kill the bacteria or virus.  If the right dose is not taken for the correct length of time, some of the bacteria or viruses may survive, multiply, and cause the infection to recur.  Inadequate treatment also may promote the development of resistance to the drug by the bacterium or virus.  Then the antibiotic or antiviral drug may not work at all.  Like antibiotics, other types of drugs also may be required at a specific dose and duration to achieve appropriate levels in the body to adequately combat the disease.  With some medications this even may require weeks or months of treatment. 

Thank you for your question.

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