Use and Misuse: Antibiotics Don’ts

Antibiotics come in handy when bacterial infections set in. However, proper use of antibiotics is required to ensure that it will work its purpose best.

Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic resistance occurs when the drug is not properly administered. It is when the bacteria change in a way that makes antibiotic drugs somehow ineffective.

You see antibiotics are quite useful for bacterial infections that cause flu, ear infection, and some wounds. If it is not administered the way it should be, in case of over-prescription and inappropriate use, it will result to antibiotic resistance that will reduce or eliminate the efficiency of the drug.

What are Antibiotics?

For starters, antibiotics are chemical substances that are derived from microorganisms to inhibit the growth or destroy the harmful microorganisms, They are mostly derived from fungi and bacteria and are used to prevent and treat infectious diseases. Antibiotics can also be used to heal minor wounds and discomforts.

Use and Misuse Antibiotics Donts There are hundreds of different antibiotics available in the market today. Each is created to efficiently treat certain types of infections since the bacteria that cause the infections vary widely. There are several classifications of antibiotics including those that cover the well-known brands such as tetracycline and penicillin. Proper use of antibiotics depends firstly on prescription. Then, everything else follows including dosages and administration.

Antibiotics Don'ts

As an answer to the common concern of proper use of antibiotics not just to get rid of antibiotic resistance but also to ensure that the patient is safe from side effects, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has teamed up with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Other concerned parties including health care professionals, specific government agencies, academic, international, and industry partners also worked hand in hand with FDA and CDC in time for the Get Smart with Antibiotics Week, which was celebrated last November 15-21. The awareness program seeks to encourage proper use of antibiotics. As part of it, the FDA recommended the following Antibiotics Don’ts:

* Don’t skip doses and take your medicine as prescribed. Antibiotics work best if exact dosages and dosing schedules are followed strictly.

* Don’t save antibiotics. It is not right to use leftover medicine. A particular antibiotic is only effective for a particular infection at a particular time. Taking the wrong drug might result to worsening of symptoms and delay of treatment.

* Don’t take antibiotics prescribed for others. Antibiotics prescriptions are individualized. It is not enough reason that you have the same symptoms with another patient to copy his prescription. You must see a healthcare professional personally for proper diagnosis that will determine the proper course of treatment.

Says Edward Cox, M.D., M.P.H, director for the Office of Antimicrobial Products in FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, “"Helping the public understand the implications of inappropriate antibiotic use is an important step in slowing the spread of resistance to antibiotic drugs. While there are research efforts underway to develop new antibiotics for treating patients with bacterial infections, antibiotic resistance will always be a challenge, and we will always need to use these medicines responsibly.”

You may listen to the following podcasts for more information:

Antibiotics, When and When Not to Use Them (2:00 minutes). In this episode of Medical Discovery News, medical experts talk about the proper use and administration of antibiotics.

Too Much of a Good Thing: A Cup of Health with CDC (4:14). In this podcast, a CDC expert discusses the dangers of overusing antibiotics.

Too Much of a Good Thing: A Minute of Health with CDC (0:59). In this podcast, how the use of antibiotics has increased significantly for many infections and how many common conditions can be treated by simply dealing with the symptoms and letting the illness run its course are discussed.
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