Facts to know about Antibiotic Resistance

Facts to know about Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotics are pharmaceutical drugs that resist the infections caused by bacteria. Penicillin discovered by Alexander Fleming in London in 1928 is considered as the first antibiotic. They were developed in the 1940s. Antibiotic Resistance is the competence of bacteria to repel the antimicrobial power of antibiotics. This causes the condition where the antibiotics no longer cure an infection. Antibiotic Resistance is a natural phenomenon, as bacteria evolve and immune to the antibiotics just like the other living organisms. Scientists and Doctors report the overuse of antibiotics to be a major cause of Antibiotic Resistance, as it helps the bacteria to immune and increase the drug tolerance of further generation of bacteria. Antibiotic Resistance is simply a stage where antibiotics are unable to cure the bacteria caused ailments, as the bacteria have developed drug resistance capacity with their immune system.

The effectiveness of Antibiotics is declining as bacteria can neutralize the effect of antibiotics before they have effects, are able to pump out the antibiotics, can change the site where antibiotics work and pass on the genetic material through mutation, thus leading to drug resistance by the bacteria.

Advancement to ‘Post-Antibiotic era’

Antibiotic Resistance is now a global concern due to many reasons. The major reason is, it causes several deaths across the globe. Another major reason is, it is hampering the growth of the medical field. According to experts, we are reaching a “post-antibiotic era” where the effectiveness of antibiotics will drastically decline and we may be helpless in the medical sphere.

We can derive it from the report of Lancet Infectious Disease journal which highlights that the current bacteria are becoming resistant to ‘Colistin’. Colistin is regarded as an antibiotic of the “Last Resort”. Doctors will recommend Colistin only when no other alternative for treatment is left. It is a global concern for the nearing extinction of Colistin as there won’t be much treatment options for the patients. Alternative treatments for infections due to Colistin-resistant bacteria are being assessed, including new antibiotics and combinations of older antibiotics.

Drug Resistance bacteria are now termed as “Superbugs”. The prime reason for this is the loss of antibiotics options caused by antibiotic resistance.

Future threats of Antibiotic Resistance:

a) A Global Concern:

Antibiotic Resistance is really a global phenomenon in all countries. As mentioned earlier, it will hamper the growth of the medical field. If seen from a perspective, the drug resistance capacity of bacteria is causing us to regress in the medical field and we may soon be in early 20th century phase where we won’t have any treatment for bacterial ailments.

b) Hamper Surgical Operations:

Surgical operations may come to a halt, as there won’t be any safe method of operations without antibiotics. Heart, lung, liver, kidney and other vital organ surgeries won’t be possible and safe to be conducted, thus regressing the medical field and human society in general. The ability of patients to fight infections in the immune system will fall drastically because of antibiotic resistance. Surgical operations won’t be recommended as they may leave several infections without antibiotics. Life-saving transplant operations would be inconvenient leaving several patients helpless.

c) Increase in Childbirth Deaths:

The effectiveness of antibiotics declination will cause several deaths in childbirth. Because of antibiotic resistance, there would be several complications that could not be treated on mother without antibiotics.

d) Antibiotic Resistance in Animals:

Even animals are treated with antibiotics over the past few decades globally. In them too, the bacterial organisms have mutated and developed the antibiotic resistance. So the lives and wellbeing of animals are also a major concern.

Causes of Antibiotic Resistance:

Overuse of Antibiotics:

Overuse of Antibiotics is the major cause of Antibiotic Resistance. People across the globe consume them for small ailments like cold and flu without any knowledge and consultation. There are some ailments that are caused by a virus and not bacteria. And antibiotics fight against bacteria only. This needs to be kept in mind. Expert physicians will help you out regarding which antibiotics you should avoid and which you should consume at various ailment stages.

No Pharmaceutical Sector Backing:

The pharmaceutical industry experts are not taking efforts to research and work on the antibiotic resistance, as it is not profitable for them to develop new alternatives. Antibiotics are usually off-patent and available at reasonable prices in the market for patients. Also, the antibiotic drugs are prescribed for a short period. This reduces the profit margin of the pharmaceutical companies. Thus, there is less development in the antibiotic resistance concerns across the globe.

Carelessness of Patients and Physicians:

Physicians treat patients empirically without a specific insight about the cause of ailments. This is to reduce the time required for a treatment. This causes a long-term problem of antibiotic resistance.

At Tedx StLouis Women conference 2015, Victoria J Fraser, MD of Department of Medicine spoke about the antibiotic resistance to raising awareness for general public and their health concern. She persistently mentioned about washing hands and being hygienic to solve this problem at a basic level.

Now we are generally aware of drug resistance capacity mutated by the bacteria and it is a global concern. So we must avoid the use of antibiotics whenever possible and know which one to consume at which stage. We as patients must not be careless when it comes to wellbeing and health. Doctor’s recommendation is a must when it comes to intake of antibiotics. Best General Physicians from Hyderabad at Sehat.com will help you with the best practices and results. Hygienic conditions must be a major prevention concern.

Reviewed By:

Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)

Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad