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Is it OK to take leftover antibiotics to treat a current infection?


You should never use any leftover antibiotics to treat a current infection. The various antibiotics that are available are effective only against specific bacteria, so do not assume that the old medication will take care of your current infection. Your physician should determine the cause of your infection and prescribe appropriate treatment.

It also is important to note that any time you are prescribed an antibiotic, you should take all the medicine you are given on the schedule your doctor provides - even when you start to feel better. Unless your doctor tells you to discontinue the antibiotic, you should not have any left over. Not finishing the prescription means some bacteria could survive and possibly come back even stronger. The surviving bacteria can then become resistant to the antibiotic, make the infection worse and make it harder to treat.

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Answers to questions regarding information about medications or health conditions are not for diagnostic or treatment purposes and are not conclusive as to the presence or absence of any health condition. Consult your physician for diagnosis and treatment of your medical condition. The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of the scientific literature may vary. Walgreens' terms of use and general warranty disclaimer apply to all services provided. If you are in need of immediate medical attention, contact your physician, poison control center or emergency medical professional. If you need to speak with a pharmacist for non-emergency matters, contact your local Walgreens pharmacist or call a pharmacist toll-free at 1 (877) 250-5823.

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