The head of the UK’s infection control specialists has called for more clarity from the drug regulator on recent advice for doctors to use fluoroquinolone antibiotics only when absolutely necessary, which he said has left prescribers confused and fearful of legal repercussions should patients experience side effects.
In January the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) released without warning an update which said that fluoroquinolones should only be prescribed when no other antibiotics are appropriate, such as when first line antibiotics have failed, will not work because of resistance, or are unsafe to use in a particular patient. 12
Doctors have told The BMJ that they do not know what prompted the update or how the risks of fluoroquinolone should be balanced against the risks of other courses of action.
Previously the regulator had stated only that fluoroquinolones should not be prescribed for mild …