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Misuse of antibiotics

October 26, 2012


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