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Are Antibiotics Creating Drug Resistant Superbugs? Infections Could Become Impossible To Treat

First Posted: Nov 14, 2016 04:40 AM EST
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Australians were recently urged to understand the health implications of antibiotic resistance, and how it is something that is happening and cannot be ignored anymore, at the 2016 global Antibiotic Awareness Week (Nov. 14 to Nov. 20, 2016) in Australia. According to reports, there is an increased rate of resistance associated with commonly used antibiotics.

NPS MedicineWise has stated that penicillin, which is the most common prescribed kind of antibiotic, may be at risk from working against some kinds of bacteria. According to Dr. Andrew Boyden, medical adviser at NPS MedicineWise, antibiotic resistance is the state when bacteria have the ability to change to protect themselves from an antibiotic. Subsequently, when bacteria reach such a stage, the antibiotic cannot kill the bacteria or stop them from multiplying, resulting in the creation of superbugs.

"You can make antibiotic resistance worse if you use antibiotics when you don't need them, use old packs of antibiotics for a new infection, share antibiotics among friends or family, or fail to take antibiotics as your doctor prescribes, including the right amount and at the right time," Dr Boyden added, as per AJP report.

Incidentally, the NPS MedicineWise is an independent advisory body that is government-funded. It launched the Antibiotic Awareness Week, following the release of the Federal ­Government's National Antimicrobial Resistance Strat­egy that includes a $9.4 million pledge from next year's budget.

According to Australian health minister Sussan Ley, the top priority at the moment is lowering the general use of antibiotics. There were reportedly more than 30 million antibiotic prescriptions in Australia during 2014, 88 percent of which were prescribed by the general practitioner.

The guidelines released by NPS MedicineWise ask patients to refrain from asking for antibiotics when being treated for viral infections like the flu and cold. In addition, when patients are prescribed antibiotics to cure bacterial infections, they should strictly follow the instructions of the doctor or pharmacist.

"We are now starting to see cases of resistance to our last-resort antibiotics and are therefore facing a future where some infections may be impossible to treat," said Katie Flanagan from the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases.

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