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Misuse of antibiotics

Published Oct 26, 2012 11:11pm


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THIS is apropos of Prof Mahmud Ahmad Akhtar’s letter ‘Lack of first-line antibiotics’ (May 10). The writer mixed certain facts which are not true.

The issue is not that first-line antibiotics are not available in the market. Instead, misuse and abuse of antibiotics in the country is resulting in the present state of affairs.

Just imagine, in a country where people are self-medicating antibiotics themselves for problems like headache just one dose of it, what to talk about anything else.

I have seen people consulting medically illiterate pharmacy salesmen for their problems. The problem highlighted by the writer is not that simple.

Rather it is multi-pronged and needs multi-dimensional comprehensive long-term strategy to address this issue.

It is not true that second-line antibiotics are used due to unavailability of first-line antibiotics.

In most of the cases, first-line antibiotics have lost their efficacy due to excessive use and misuse of first-line antibiotics, resulting in development of bacterial resistance to common infections.

Quackery and self-medication is rampant in our society due to illiteracy and economical conditions of the people. The basic principle in the use of antibiotics is to let the body immunity fight any minor infection.

Many a time just taking long rest and avoiding causative agents which trigger a disease while a good balanced diet is enough to combat a minor infection.

Development of fever is an alarming sign which needs consulting a competent general physician.

There is a dire need to follow WHO guidelines in letter and in spirit for the use of essential drugs and antibiotics.

Mass public awareness about the rational use of drugs is the need of the hour.

Pharmacist should also come forward to play the role of health managers and medication safety advocate of people to mitigate the disease burden in society for which the government should also recognise them as health professionals and their presence be ensured wherever medicines are being used by the people

FAROOQ BASHIR BUTT Deputy Director, Pharmacy, Punjab Institute of Mental Health Lahore


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Comments (4) Closed

Brig (R) Waheed Uz Zaman Tariq Oct 28, 2012 05:41pm
I do agree with my extremely respected teacher and mentor. The antibiotic misuse and overuse have made our bacteria resistant to most of the commonly used antibiotics of first line. Those who prescribe the antibiotics ahve no knowledge of bacteria, phenomenon of resistance, transfer of resisatnce and their impact on medical practices. The appearance of NDM Carbepenam resiatance and carbepenamse in the E coli and K pneumniae in those patients who have visited Lahore for medical safari have a bad impact on our industry of medical and surgical safaris. People were coming to Pakistan for cheaper optional surgical procedures like plastic surgery and there was a scope for that as they had to wait for months and years in state run hospitals and in private sector teh cost was exuberant. More than that wahat we have in Pakistan is bags of resistant genes in our bacteria. We do not have a concept of antibiotic stewardship. policies for infection control, good hygienic practices and policies for antibiotic use and monitoring of resistance. We have become a source of spread of resistance. The pace of development of new antibiotics is slow and we do not have further options and we are heading towards the time where we may end up in pre antibiotic like era. It is the time to think, act and fight against misuse.
mansoor Oct 27, 2012 06:17pm
Health is a hands off issue for our governments, central and province level and is in the hands of private profiteers. Patients demand cure for minor infections in shortest time as they have to work to feed themselves and family. Prevention is frowned upon by medical community as it would be counter productive to business. Every patient with fever would get 3-4 different antibiotics with a short course of steroids. There is hardly any regulatory body with teeth to protect public from doctors.
Nirmal Das Oct 28, 2012 03:32pm
we r prone to misuse of many items. we did not misuse Tea, one did not need tea but offer and forcibly provide tea when ever he visit. it is tea which also contains one of white poison that is sugar. Prof Das
L Y Oct 27, 2012 11:49am
How about misuse of antibiotics in farm animals that are later consumed by humans, thus excerbating the resistence?