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Resistance to antibiotics... By Amna

31 December, 2013

Antibiotic resistance is one of the most serious health threats the world is facing today. Antibiotics are the most commonly prescribed drugs in human medicine to prevent infections caused by different microbes, particularly bacteria. Nowadays, most bacteria have developed resistance to the action of these antibiotics, undermining their ability to prevent infections. Inappropriate use of antibiotics is the single most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance around the world. According to a careful estimation, up to 50 percent of the antibiotics prescribed to patients are either not needed or are not optimally effective. Researchers all over the world believe that achievements in modern medicine such as major surgeries, organ transplantation, treatment of preterm babies and cancer chemotherapy would not be possible without access to the effective treatment of bacterial infections.

One of the proposed solutions to suppress antibiotic resistance is tight control over their use by antibiotics stewardship, which is the commitment to always use antibiotics appropriately and safely. Unfortunately, in developing countries like Pakistan there is no surety of an appropriate use of these drugs because of the fact that people do not need to have a doctor's prescription to buy antibiotics from a pharmacy. Anyone can claim any kind of medicine, including antibiotics, without consultation with a physician. People walk into pharmacies and decide to buy a medicine of choice having no idea whether or not the particular medicine they are buying is suitable for the treatment of the infection they are suffering from. Such an inappropriate use of medication can induce resistance in disease-causing bacteria against the particular antibiotic that the patient has received. Pakista

n has the highest retail sales of antibiotics in Asia based on data obtained from IMS Health's MIDAS database. Immediate action is needed in order to cut down the deliberate and frequent use of antibiotics, which is leading to antibiotic resistance.

AMNA FAROOQ
British Columbia, Canada

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