Over-consumption of antibiotics: “With resistance to 1st and 2nd line antibiotics, doctors are forced to use reserve drugs”

Sir Alexander Fleming in his Nobel Lecture in 1945 said: “The time may come when penicillin can be bought by anyone in stores. Then there is the danger that the ignorant man can easily underdose himself and that exposing his microbes to non-lethal amounts of the drug will make them resistant. Today, in 2021, doctors are warning us about antibiotic abuse and how antibiotic resistance is a global threat.

What is the misuse of antibiotics?

Abuse of antibiotics consists of consuming antibiotics without medical advice, reusing old prescriptions, not taking the prescribed course or shortening the duration of treatment, taking less than the prescribed dose or not following the prescribed dose. good frequency.

Why we must practice caution

Dr Kiran G Kulirankal, Assistant Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, Amrita Hospital, Kochi explains, “Antibiotics have not only saved lives, but have led to major breakthroughs in the development of medicine and surgery. They have increased the average life expectancy from the mid-twenties to the 70s over the past century by reducing morbidity and mortality from infections. The widespread overuse of antibiotics has given way to the development of resistance. Inappropriate prescriptions have also contributed to the emergence of multidrug resistant organisms. The use of antibiotics to treat livestock also contributes to the transmission of drug resistant bacteria. Economic and regulatory hurdles in the pharmaceutical industry have led to fewer antibiotics being developed.

She adds: “With the emergence of resistance to 1st and 2nd line antibiotic treatment options, healthcare professionals are forced to use reserve antibiotics which are more expensive and with side effects. This will only add to the cost of the country’s already overburdened health care infrastructure. ”

The AMR (Antimicrobial Resistance) Crisis

The World Health Organization has recognized the critical need to urgently tackle AMR (antimicrobial resistance) and has declared AMR to be one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity. According to Dr Sonali Dighe, Medical Director of Pfizer Limited, “According to a 2017 report, approximately 700,000 people die from AMR each year. This could potentially reach up to 10 million deaths per year by 2050, if no action is taken now. AMR could also lead to a 3.8% drop in annual GDP. In India, it is estimated that 2 million people could die from AMR by 2050. ”Some pathogens such as Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter and Pseudomonas known to cause healthcare-related infections are becoming increasingly difficult to be treated and have developed resistance to a large number of antibiotics, including third generation carbapenems and cephalosporins – antibiotics used to treat multidrug-resistant bacteria. , She adds.

ATLAS (Antimicrobial testing leadership and surveillance) is a fully searchable global database (including India) by Pfizer for antibacterial surveillance that is useful for healthcare professionals to understand local resistance patterns of various bacteria and antibiotics that can affect these bacteria. We also have ongoing training programs for clinicians, nurses and pharmacists on the implementation of antimicrobial stewardship in hospitals.


The need of the hour is appropriate training of healthcare workers in prescribing antibiotics and educating the public about stopping the use of unnecessary antibiotics. We need laws to prevent the over-the-counter sale of antibiotics and to sell drugs only with a valid prescription – all of these will help stop the spread of antibiotic resistance.

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