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Experts Raise Concerns Over The Prescription For Drug Resistance

Update Date: Oct 05, 2014 07:18 PM EDT

Experts have raised concerns over the accepted wisdom that aggressive treatment with high drug dosages and long durations is always the best way to stem the emergence and spread of resistant pathogens.

The study is a review of nearly 70 studies of antimicrobial resistance. 

We found that while there are many studies that test for resistance emergence between different drug regimes, surprisingly few have looked at the topic of how varying drug dosage might affect the emergence and spread of resistance," said Ruthie Birger, a Princeton graduate student, in the press release.

"We are a long way from having the evidence for the best treatment decisions with respect to resistance for a range of diseases," Birger said.

The notion that aggressive treatment may backfire against malarial parasites led the authors of the current study to comb the scientific literature to examine whether the same may hold true for other types of microbes including bacteria. 

"It's remarkable how little we know about this topic," said C. Jessica Metcalf, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and public affairs at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School. "The malaria study conducted by Silvie Huijben and colleagues at Pennsylvania State University is an inspiring step towards developing an evidence base for these important issues."

The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 

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