Antibiotic resistance: Use antibiotics carefully
Inventions by medical science have no doubt proved to be a boon for mankind. It has invented various medicines (antibiotics) that have helped humans in curing the hardest diseases. But as they say every good thing comes at a price and antibiotic resistance is one such price that we may have already started paying for. Medical science is undoubtedly one of the most important inventions in the history of mankind.
According to the report ‘State of World Antibiotics 2015’ conducted by the Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy, New Delhi, India is counted as the leading consumer of antibiotics. Reports have also claimed that antibiotic resistance will kill 300 million people by 2050.
As a result of the excessive use of antibiotics, the treatment will become difficult and many casualties will be reported. If a strong action is not taken, our children will lose their line of defense against fatal bacteria.
What is antibiotic resistance?
Antibiotics are consumed to check the growth of bacteria that causes ifections and illness in human. If antibiotics do not respond against these bacteria, then stage is called antibiotic resistance. Dr Supradip Ghosh, Additional Director, Department of Critical Care, Fortis says “The more harmful bacteria are exposed to antibiotics, more they tend to resist the same.”
Causes of antibiotic resistance
The humans’ tendency to cope and adapt in any hard situations while fighting and winning the situation, same is the case with bacteria’s. Did you know, bacteria and various other microorganisms were there on this planet even before humans came into being? Understandably so, bacteria are better adept to evolving to the conditions around them. As per World Health Organisation (WHO), “The evolution of resistant strains is a natural phenomenon that occurs when microorganisms replicate themselves erroneously or when resistant traits are exchanged between them.”
Anurag Roy, Business Unit Director, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa at DSM Sinochem Pharmaceuticals, which advocates for sustainable antibiotics says, “Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) also called Antibiotic Resistance is a global threat today. AMR renders antibiotic ineffective, which means that they can no longer fight bacterial infections and ultimately become useless. Every year, AMR is responsible for the deaths of nearly 60,000 babies in India who are most vulnerable and unable to fight infections.”
Why needs to be done?
As the resistance power of bacteria are increasing day by day, and as the we create new antibiotics, by the time some of the bacteria have already evolved to be resistant with new drugs.
Antibiotic resistance has the ability of transforming the simplest of treatments into complicated ones. It not only increases the costs involved in the treatments but also dramatically increases the death risk.
Antibiotic resistance has the power of transforming organ transplants into impossible jobs.
As per WHO, “Patients with infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria are generally at increased risk of worse clinical outcomes and death, and consume more health-care resources than patients infected with the same bacteria that are not resistant.” CDC states that two million people in the US alone get infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and around 23,000 people die because of these infections.
What worsens the situation?
There are many factors that can be held responsible for antibiotic resistance. The majorly includes the misuse of antibiotics both by doctors and patients. Several medical watch dog agencies have shared guidelines stating correct ways of prescribing antibiotics but there have been instances where antibiotics are prescribed rampantly. Dr Ghosh adds, “Cold and cough infections are majorly caused by viruses yet antibiotics are used as prime lines of treatment.”
The easy availability of these antibiotics in countries like India is also a major contributor to the problem. People self-prescribe and buy antibiotic without proper prescriptions. Not only has that, even pharmacists prescribed antibiotics on their own without being qualified to do so.
What can one do? – Dr. Monica Mahajan, Associate Director, Internal Medicine, Max Healthcare says, “The antibiotic dose is prescribed by the Doctor as per the disease and person’s body weight, hence should not be self-adjusted. It is important to complete the entire course and not stop it midway to avoid developing resistance.”
– There should be no indication of using antibiotic for viral infections including cough and cold unless the doctor prescribes it for a bacterial infection on top of a viral flu.
– Certain antibiotics are not safe in pregnancy, kidney or epilepsy patients and are best avoided.
– If you are allergic to a particular antibiotic, avoid all drugs of that particular class.
– A number of bacteria for community acquired infections like urine infection are becoming multi-drug resistant due to overuse and abuse of antibiotic. There are very few new molecules in the pipeline for newer antibiotics. Hence, we need to do our bit since we are facing the scenario of ‘bad bugs, no drugs’.
– It is better to immunize using vaccine against preventable diseases.
– Food should be cooked properly as heat kills a lot of bacteria. This gets especially important for non-vegetarians as it is reported that poultry owners feed antibiotic to animals.
Source:Times of India