Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Health :Are you misusing antibiotics?

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The sale of antibiotics in medical shops is going over-the-counter! The Pioneer’s SHIKHA DUGGAL spoke with a variety of medical practitioners to learn more about antibiotic overuse and to get a sense of a psychological shift.

A new term is making the rounds these days: antibiotic resistance. The sale of antibiotics in medical shops is going over-the-counter! If one antibiotic is ineffective, the manufacturer creates a new mix dosage, further complicating its use. Who’s most affected? The senior citizens! Antibiotics have become the most important drugs for them; without them, most of them can’t go to sleep, which is unbelievable.The 1928 discovery of antibiotics by Fleming transformed the world of medical science. We spoke with a variety of medical practitioners to learn more about antibiotic overuse and to get a sense of a psychological shift.

For example, Dr. Sudheer Reddy, a homoeopath, gives us an alternative: homoeopathy is a traditional healing system that has been used throughout the ages and is now backed by outstanding clinical research, so why not use it instead of antibiotics? The doctor from Wish Health Homeo Clinic informed us, “Antibiotics are generally prescribed for more serious bacterial infections. Most common infections are caused by viruses, where an antibiotic will not be useful. So, always take the entire course of antibiotics as directed by your physician, even though you may feel better! This is important for your healing. If an antibiotic is stopped mid-course, germs may be partially treated but not completely killed, and bacteria may then become resistant to that antibiotic.

Antibiotic overuse has resulted in some bacteria changing their form and becoming resistant to some medications, which may then fail to work when truly needed, and patients requiring higher doses of antibiotics. Some antibiotics may interact with other medications you are taking! This may cause reactions. When it comes to elderly people, they may have medical disorders and be on medication too. So, safer antibiotics with appropriate dosages should be prescribed. Patients want an antibiotic prescription and immediate relief, which makes for typical antibiotic usage! All antibiotics have their own effects and side effects, so overuse causes imbalance in the body. It’s time to understand all the above and try to minimise antibiotic usage.”

Experts also feel that with the increasing number of drug-resistant bacteria, they will be forced to stop organ transplantation, chemotherapy, or even the smallest surgeries. “Breaking news! When people misuse prescribed medicines in a way not instructed by the prescriber, it is known as prescription drug abuse. In addition, they may abuse their medication in a way the doctor does not recommend. Prescription drug abuse refers to the improper use of medicines categorised as controlled substances by the Drug Enforcement Administration. It includes taking more medication than they need or taking it when they don’t. It is very common among the elderly that they get mentally addicted to antibiotics, which have a drastic toll on their bodies. However, most prescription drugs are safe and effective when followed per the doctor’s directions.

Older adults take more prescribed and over-the-counter medications, thus increasing the risk of harmful drug interactions, misuse, and abuse. For example, a cross-sectional community-based study of 3005 individuals aged 57 to 85 found that 37.1% of men and 36.0% of women used at least five prescription medications concurrently. The study also found that about 1 in 25 participants was at risk for a significant drug interaction, and half of these situations involved non-prescription medicines.

Most older adults suffer such drug abuse accidentally and without knowing it. According to the National Institute, half the people aged 55 to 85 take more than five medications or supplements regularly, which increases the risk of mistakes and drug abuse. Aging slows down the body’s ability to absorb and filter medicines, which can eventually make them addicted to or have side effects from a drug at a lower dose than a younger adult. Elderly adults can abuse any prescription drug. Apart from opioid painkillers, anti-anxiety medicines, sedatives, and stimulants, antibiotics also fall into the addiction category.

With their growing age and weak bodies, elders tend to develop medical conditions and grow impatient when dealing with the same. In a fit for immediate ease in their health-related discomfort, they incline towards antibiotics. Seniors suffering from drug abuse syndrome should not hesitate to take strong antibiotics for pity illnesses! Intestines contain around 100 trillion helpful bacteria of various strains, known as gut flora, which maintain a natural balance in the gut, supporting immunity and proper digestion that antibiotics can throw out with aggressive intake. Unfortunately, while helpful for a severe infection, antibiotics can leave harmful gut bacteria immune to antibiotics to flourish while wiping out many good ones. Against antibiotics, bacteria have developed defences through horizontal gene transfer. Bacteria don’t need to reproduce to pass on their genetic protection from antibiotics. Instead, they can pass these genes to fellow bacteria passing through the colon to transfer their resistance genes to other bacteria. With antibiotic resistance spreading, ridding patients of infection requires more prolonged and expensive therapy. Overdose of antibiotic drugs has caused premature deaths, extended hospital stays, and lost remuneration related to antibiotic-resistant disorders,” said Dr. Prateek Bhardwaj, from Vesta Elder Care!

Long ago, Alexander Fleming predicted that the day would come when anyone could buy penicillin in a store. There is the danger that the ignorant man may easily underdose himself and, by exposing his microbes to non-lethal quantities of the drug, make them resistant. It’s coming so true, it’s unbelievable! Dr. Bindumathi P. L., who specialises in internal medicine at Aster CMI Hospital, told a new facet: “Antibiotics that target bacterial infections have revolutionised modern medicine by allowing us to treat previously lethal communicable diseases. This has resulted in higher life expectancies! These days, the effectiveness of many antibiotics is diminishing at a concerning rate.

Since commercialisation, inappropriate use has been common. Increased hospital stays, overworked personnel, a shortage of staff, and obstacles in implementing infection control exercises during this time have also burdened the healthcare system and prevented the tracking of hospital-acquired antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. Don’t take antibiotics for viral infections! The microorganisms are also playing the survival of the fittest game in your body. If they are healthy inside, they can even overcome antibiotic resistance.

Too much antibiotic consumption will only increase suffering, and high-dose antibiotics are extremely costly, causing a financial burden on you. It is not necessary to take two antibiotics in one day. Many patients that come to me are already on way too many antibiotics; it’s alarming! Moreover, they are easily available at pharmacies, so who can control them? If you have a fever, try to control it with home remedies; don’t run for antibiotics immediately. Paracetamol is more effective! I also have information on a few homoeopaths who misuse antibiotics.”

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