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How does misuse lead to resistance in bacterial infections?

Antibiotic misuse can reduce the efficacy of antibiotics to control and kill specific groups of bacteria. When antibiotics are overprescribed for non-bacterial infections, the antibiotics become less effective against bacteria they are used to treat. If an entire course of antibiotics is not completed, the surviving bacteria can develop resistance to the drug. In both instances, bacteria obtain genes from other bacteria that render them safe from the effects of common antibiotics. Bacteria genes may also mutate, making them more resistant to antibiotics. Antibiotic resistant bacteria spread among groups faster and are harder to treat. When common antibiotics lose effectiveness, doctors must find other drugs to treat infections that may be more expensive, have harsher side-effects, and may result in prolonged treatment.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.