Antibiotic usage has always been a contemporary issue in public health world since it was first discovered by Sir Alexander Fleming in 1929.
Decades later, other antibiotics have been manufactured which have helped in treating bacterial infection and reduced the burden of bacterial infrctious diseases hence, increasing life expectancy of millions of people. Antibiotic Misuses is the use of antibiotics in a way not recommended by the doctor or pharmacist, which may include; stopping medication when dosage is not completed, use it for reasons other than what it is prescribed, taking too much of the prescribed dosage, taking more than the prescribed dosage e.t.c.
Misuse of antibiotics have contributed to a phenomenon called Antibiotic Resistance which is a growing public health concern worldwide. According to Global Antimicrobial Surveillance System (GLASS), there is a wide spread occurrence of antibiotic resistance among 500, 000 people with suspected bacterial infections across 22 countries. Antibiotic Resistance occurs when bacteria change response to the use of antibiotics I.I.e the bacteria now develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them.
At this stage the antibiotics can not fight the bacteria again and the bacteria multiplies, this situation can be compared to a very stubborn child that the child use beating as a form of correction, at every slightest mistake the child is given serious beating which now make the child resistance to the pain from the can and there is no change in behavior and the child develops worse behaviour. The emergence of resistance and it’s rapid spread in negating the impact of these drugs.
Ways of misusing antibiotics
1. Use as contraceptive: some people take chloraphenicol after sex to prevent pregnancy, people came up with this theory still amaze me because what I know that causes pregnancy is the fertilisation of egg by the sperm and sperm is not a bacteria so I don’t see how antibiotics can stop one from getting pregnant.
2. Using antibiotics to treat viral illnesses: people often take antibiotics for viral illness such as common cold and flu, which it’s not possible as antibiotics only work for bacteria and not virus.
3. Not taking the prescribed dosage: when some people get treated of any bacteria causing diseases and they are not feeling any symptoms they tend to stop taking the drug even if try have nor completed the prescribed dosage. Also, some people forget to take their drug and once they remember to try to make up for the missed ones.
4. Using leftover antibiotics: you might think you can save an antibiotic for next time you get sick, but an antibiotic is meant for a particular illness at the time. Also consult your doctor even if you are having similar symptoms, taking the wrong medicine can delay getting the appropriate treatment and may allow the condition to worsen.
5. Taking drugs prescribed for someone else: some people seek medical advice from their non-medical friends, just because a doctor prescribed a particular drug for your friend when you are having similar symptoms you start taking the drug prescribed for that friend of yours, which is very wrong because some diseases have similar symptoms and it might not be the same disease.
Effects of antibiotic resistance
Antibiotic resistance is a growing public health concern worldwide. When a person is infected with an antibiotic resistant bacterium I.e the antibiotic is no longelonger defeating the bacteria, this not only make the treatment of patients more difficult, but the antibiotics resistant bacteria may also spread to other places which could lead to;
1. Longer illnesses
2. More complication
3. The use of stronger and more expensive antibiotics
4. More deaths caused by bacterial infection’s.
Though National Centre for Disease Control(NCDC) have come up with the ONE HEALTH campaign and also the antibiotics awareness week which is from 13-19 November, but I belief people still need more drug education using various health communication strategies. Let’s try the avoid indiscriminate use and misuse of antibiotic it’s for our own benefit.