Antibiotics ‘do not help with asthma’, researchers at Blackpool Vic find

Dr Tarek Saba from Blackpool Victoria Hospital
Dr Tarek Saba from Blackpool Victoria Hospital
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Prescribing antibiotics to asthma patients doesn’t help them, a study carried out by researchers at Blackpool Victoria Hospital has shown.

The hospital trust’s research and development team worked on a national project – led by the Imperial College in London – that looked at the value of treating asthma with the drug.

Their findings also landed them the British Medical Journal’s UK Research Paper of the Year award earlier this month.

Blackpool had the highest rate of antibiotic prescribing in the north west in 2016, and health bosses estimate that, globally, 60,000 people will die every year by 2047 due to dangerous bacteria becoming resistant to them.

Respiratory consultant at the Vic, Dr Tarek Saba, said: “We wanted to see if routinely prescribing antibiotics would improve patients’ treatment and outcomes.

“The study found that prescribing antibiotics didn’t make any difference so we now have strong evidence to say we shouldn’t routinely be giving patients antibiotics.”

Research manager Michelle Stephens added: “By taking part, [patients] have contributed to us having improved knowledge that routinely prescribing antibiotics does not make any difference to patients’ treatment and outcomes. Without our patients these developments cannot be made.”

Research nurse Philomena Shooter said: “We screened a huge amount of patients to see if they could participate in the study. It was hard to find patients who would find it suitable. It answered a very important question.”

And Judith Saba, who coordinated the trial at the hospital, added: “The result is important because we work with people who have chronic lung disease. It’s good to have this new information.”

Medical director Paul Cosford at Public Health England, which launched a campaign to warn Fylde resident about over-zealous prescriptions in February, said at the time ‘taking them incorrectly may risk your health’.