Excessive Use of Antibiotics — Causes and Consequences

April 30, 2016

 

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With every passing day, fever, flu and sore throat was spreading in the city. It was the impact of the climate and to some degree viral as well. Aftab likewise encountered the same indications. Instead of visiting doctor, he went to nearby pharmacy and purchased a set of medicine which he considered very effective for such illnesses; few painkillers and “Achi se Antibiotic.”

What Aftab did was a typical example of self-medication and it is very common practice in our society. We have become obsessed with antibiotics. The moment anyone of us gets cold, flu or throat infection, we rush  to take antibiotics. This is not under any condition a rational conduct. There are some facts about antibiotics that everyone must comprehend. Antibiotics in fact, are such chemical compounds which can kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria only. In other words, they can have no efficacy against illnesses like common cold, flu and sore throat as these infections are not caused by bacteria but viruses!  And medical science tells us that patient’s immune system clears the body from viruses within days to few weeks on its own.

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Over use of Antibiotic medicine may have serious repercussion on human health. World Health Organization has alerted that consumption of antimicrobial medicine for non-bacterial infections or their excessive intake even for bacterial diseases is taking the world towards a health crisis and that is Antibiotic resistance.”

Antibiotic resistance is a condition where disease causing bacteria develop resistance against over-used antibiotic agents and as a result, that group of medicine loses its ability to cure that particular infection. Experts believe that if this situation is not controlled on urgent grounds then we may go back to the dark ages, when patients would even die of small pox, pneumonia, or dysentery.

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In Pakistan people are very much obsessed of getting themselves injected for even the slightest of reasons, just a mild fever and the next thing we know they end up immediately at the doctors doorstep for an injection “Dr. Sb Tabiatt Bari Kharab aey, Teeka La Deo.” (Dr. I am not feeling well, kindly give me an injection). And they believe this is the best possible remedy to every kind of sickness. WHO’s report also reveals that in Pakistan too many medicines are prescribed per patient and over 70% of patients are given antibiotics. This trend has its roots in the greed and opportunistic role of both doctors and pharmaceutical companies. Though all fingers are not equal, but it’s a fact that pharmaceutical companies bribe medical practitioners. They help increase the sale of a specific brand of medicine by prescribing it to every patient whether they need it or not and in return, the company takes such black sheep of medical profession, on foreign tours, establish their clinics or offer them expensive vehicles.

This situation requires serious steps in right direction. Though ministry of national health services has vowed to place country’s first “National Plan” on drug overuse and Antimicrobial Resistance by May, 2017. Both the patient and the doctor need to be more careful in these regards, the patient needs to push himself up by avoiding self medication while the doctor should play his part of a “messiah” and should shrug off the earning money factor form the patient and  do their part honestly.