Why are bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics?

Antibiotic resistance is a natural phenomenon caused by changes in the bacteria’s genes. Overuse and misuse of antibiotics can promote the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria.(1) Sensitive bacteria are killed by antibiotic medications, but resistant bacteria can flourish and spread making antibiotics less effective.(2)(3) Using antibiotics when they are not needed or using them incorrectly can enable development of antibiotic resistance.(4)

When do you use antibiotics incorrectly?

If you do any of the following without medical advice, you won’t have enough antibiotic in your body and the bacteria may become resistant: (2)

  • shorten the treatment duration
  • lower the prescribed dose
  • fail to comply with the right frequency

When you use antibiotics for the wrong reasons such as taking them for most colds and flu which are caused by viruses, they will NOT be effective.

Always follow your doctor’s advice on when and how to use antibiotics.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Antibiotic Resistance Questions and Answers.
    Available at: Accessed 31 December 2018.
  2. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Factsheet for the general public - Antimicrobial resistance.
    Available at: Accessed 31 December 2018.
  3. World Health Organization (WHO). Antimicrobial resistance. Global report on surveillance. 2014.
    Available at:;jsessionid=226100E0946A6CD70C8035A0D80F3429?sequence=1 Accessed 31 December 2018.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Antibiotic resistance threats in the United States, 2013.
    Available at: Accessed 31 December 2018.

PP-CPF-IND-0006 | 11th January 2019