The Post-Antibiotic Effect on the Gut Microbiome

The Post-Antibiotic Effect on the Gut Microbiome

A cornerstone of modern medicine, antibiotics have revolutionised the treatment of infectious diseases on a global scale, saving millions of lives.1 Commonly prescribed to treat and prevent bacterial infections, such as strep throat, tuberculosis and whooping cough, antibiotics have a key role to play in healthcare.2

However, antibiotics can be overused and misused, with 1 in 3 prescriptions estimated to be inappropriate.3 Between 2000 and 2015, global prescriptions of antibiotics increased by 65%, and if nothing changes, this is expected to increase by more than 200% by 2030.4 Although there has been an overall drop in Australia’s antimicrobial use in recent years, prescriptions are still too high, with 21.8 million antimicrobial prescriptions dispensed and 1 in 3 people having at least one antibiotic dispensed in 2022.5-6

The health implications of our increasing reliance on antibiotics are significant. A major concern is antimicrobial resistance - the growing prevalence of bacterial resistance towards antibiotics - which is now a global health crisis. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that this could result in up to 10 million deaths each year by 2050.7,8

Another significant health issue is the damage inflicted on the gut microbiome from antibiotic use.7 In the process of targeting infection-causing bacteria in our bodies, antibiotics can also inadvertently wipe out beneficial bacteria, disrupting the intricate ecosystem of our gut microbiome.7

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