Antibiotic misuse: No action today, no cure tomorrow

The Global burden of infectious diseases is on the rise and also of great concern because of increasing  drug resistance.  

Antibiotics or antimicrobial agents are chemical substances used to kill bacteria and other pathogens. Prescriptions of antibiotics must be controlled and only be prescribed by qualified doctors but ironically,  everyone is prescribing antibiotics even without knowledge. I have seen many prescriptions of  antibiotics for mild and self limiting illnesses like cold and flu and sometimes it may be for some  irrelevant conditions. 

Self-medication is a human behavior in which an individual uses a substance or any exogenous influence  to self-administer treatment for physical or psychological ailments. The most widely self-medicated  substances are over-the-counter drugs and dietary supplements, which are used to treat common  health issues at home. It is very bad to see that people are taking antibiotics as over the counter  medicines.  

Antibiotic resistance is the condition when an antibiotic is unable to kill pathogens. Antibiotic resistance  is one of the big concerns for present and for the future. 

World Health Day is celebrated globally on 7 April to mark the founding of the World Health  Organization and to raise awareness every year of a key global health issue. The theme for 2011  was “Antimicrobial resistance: no action today, no cure tomorrow” 

World Antibiotic Awareness Week, was between 12-18 November 2018, conducted under the theme  “Change Can’t Wait. Our Time with Antibiotics is Running Out”. The campaign aimed to target the  general public, health professionals, governments, and the food, animal and agricultural sectors to raise  awareness of the problem of antibiotic resistance and highlight the importance of the responsible use of  antibiotics. 

Antimicrobial resistance is not a new problem but one that is becoming more dangerous; urgent and  consolidated efforts are needed to avoid regressing to the pre-antibiotic era. 

I am a pathologist and microbiologist and during my practice I see antibiotic resistance regularly but in  February 2021 I have seen some strange trend of antibiotic resistance. Some clinically important  bacteria like Klebsiella and Pseudomonas showed resistance to all available antibiotics, pan drug  resistance. This was noticed in approximately 20 samples. This is a real alarm and we have to take necessary steps to stop the misuse of antibiotics otherwise after sometime we will have no option to kill  these killer pathogens. 

I have some suggestions to control antibiotic misuse: 

Selling of antibiotics must be strictly monitored. 

Avoid self medication and always consult a physician before taking any antibiotic.

Undue marketing of antibiotics should be stopped. 

Antibiotic history should be part of the clinical history section and must be monitored.

A questionnaire to be framed for antibiotic prescribed and justification for every antibiotic  prescription should be mandatory. 

Regular education and awareness for antibiotic use must be ensured.  

It is my humble request to all that you should use antibiotics with physician’s advice only. Say no to self  medications. 

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