May 23 2013 Latest news:
Friday, November 16, 2012
A PHARMACEUTICAL advisor has echoed the warning of the country’s chief medical officer about the over-use of antibiotics following a significant rise in their use this year across west Essex.
• Antibiotics are medicines used to treat infections caused by bacteria
• Antibiotics do not work on viruses – colds and coughs are caused by viruses
• Antibiotics are usually taken by mouth, but can sometimes be given into a vein (intravenous), into a muscle (intramuscular) or applied to the skin (topical)
• Different types of antibiotics treat different kinds of infection
• Antibiotics are commonly prescribed for respiratory infections when most of these are caused by viruses not bacteria
• Most patients are prescribed antibiotics without the doctor knowing the cause of the infection
• If you take antibiotics when you don’t need them, they may lose their ability to kill bacteria
• It is essential that if you are prescribed an antibiotic that you take the full course of treatment and not stop just because you are feeling better
• Antibiotics must never be shared with other people – they may be taking the wrong antibiotic for their infection
• Antibiotic resistance is growing. If the bacteria keep ‘overpowering’ the medicines we have, we may run out of ways to kill these bacteria
• Antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as MRSA can cause serious infections and can be spread to others in your family
• In appropriate use and overuse of antibiotics have been implicated in C.diff infections
• Resistant bacteria have to be treated with very powerful drugs which can have unpleasant side-effects
• Even ordinary antibiotics can give you unpleasant side effects, such as diarrhoea.
Anurita Rohilla, pharmaceutical advisor with West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, said at times this year, antibiotic prescribing across west Essex has been as much as 30 per cent up on the same time last year.
“If people keep using antibiotics indiscriminately, they will have to address genuine serious resistance issues in the next few years,” she said.
“Widespread use of antibiotics for many years has already resulted in many of them being ineffective against a variety of bacteria. There are even bacteria which are now resistant to event the strongest antibiotics.
“We know from the feedback we receive from GPs that many people expect – often demand – antibiotics prescribed to them if they have a cold, cough, flu or ear-ache. However, the facts are that antibiotics will not help with most of these infections as the majority are caused by viruses.
“It is very important people don’t treat antibiotics as a cure-all.”
Her sentiments follow serious concerns voiced today (Friday November 16) about the inappropriate use of antibiotics by chief medical officer, professor Dame Sally Davies.
In a stern warning to doctors and patients, professor Dame Sally Davies said antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest threats to modern health.
“Antibiotics are losing their effectiveness at a rate that is both alarming and irreversible. Bacteria are adapting and finding ways to survive the effects of antibiotics, ultimately becoming resistant so they no longer work. The more you use an antibiotic, the more bacteria become resistant to it.”