Prescriptions: Complying with the Doctor's Orders (cont.)
Effects of Medicines on Disease
For each of these purposes the medicines must be taken according to the doctor's directions in order for the patient to benefit. If the medication is inappropriately taken or discontinued, illnesses can persist unnecessarily, inactive illness can become active again, complications of the illness can develop, or an illness that was being prevented may occur.
Also, if the entire prescribed course of antibiotics is not completed, the bacteria may only be reduced in numbers, not eradicated, and the infection may return in full force after the antibiotics are stopped. Another potentially serious response to an incomplete course of antibiotics is bacterial resistance. Bacterial resistance occurs when a small number of bacteria survive because the course of antibiotics was not completed. The bacteria that survive are likely to be resistant to the antibiotic, that is, they have developed ways to block the effect of the antibiotic. When the antibiotic is next used, for example, to treat the infection when it recurs, the antibiotic is no longer effective. In this situation, the next infection can be more serious and it may be necessary to change to other antibiotics to stop the infection.
Timing of Medications
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/9/2014