When less antibiotics means better health

Antimicrobial resistance has become a global health crisis which could render even common infections untreatable with existing antibiotics.

antibiotics

Antibiotics, which had once revolutionised treatment of bacterial infections and caused a significant reduction in morbidity and mortality, has today become a grave healthcare challenge.

Thus, ironically, better access to antibiotics has resulted in its overuse and misuse, leading to increased cases of antibiotic resistance. Therefore, it is important that there is mass awareness on the growing threat of the condition.

How does antibiotic resistance develop?

Bacteria become resistant when they are exposed to antibiotics.

Drug resistance develops either by the acquisition of genes that are responsible for inactivating antibiotic molecules or by target gene mutation.

How can we stop the spread of antibiotic resistance?

Studies have shown that around 50-60% of antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary. That is, antibiotics are prescribed even when the cause of infection is unknown.

For example, antibiotics may be prescribed when the patient has a viral infection or the wrong antibiotic may be prescribed in the absence of identification of the infecting bacteria.

Evidence-based use of antibiotics can go a long way in stemming the spread of antimicrobial resistance.

(The author is HOD, molecular
department, iGenetic Diagnostics)

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