Antibiotics: Misuse puts you and others at risk
By Mayo Clinic stuff
If you think antibiotic resistance isn’t a problem or doesn’t affect you, think again. A prominent example of the dangers of antibiotic resistance is the spread of MRSA — or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. MRSA was once a concern only for people in the hospital, but a newer form of MRSA is causing infections in healthy people in the community.
Antibiotic resistance occurs when antibiotics no longer work against disease-causing bacteria. These infections are difficult to treat and can mean longer lasting illnesses, more doctor visits or extended hospital stays, and the need for more expensive and toxic medications. Some resistant infections can even cause death.
Dispute over rules for approving new drugs stalls production even as concern rises over deadly resistant bacteria
August 06, 2010|By Trine Tsouderos, Tribune reporter
Drug companies are abandoning the antibacterial business, citing high development costs, low return on investment and, increasingly, a nearly decade-long stalemate with the Food and Drug Administration over how to bring new antibiotics to market.
Soon, doctors fear, we could be defenseless against bacteria that can resist all existing antibiotics, which would mean more victims like Simon, dead from a staph infection that drugs used to conquer easily.
Dr. Brad Spellberg, an expert on antibiotic resistance, called the situation “catastrophic.”
The debate over setting new guidelines for antibiotic clinical trials has lasted almost a decade. In two years there have been at least nine meetings among the FDA, pharmaceutical industry scientists and physicians, academics and infectious-disease doctors, but the group has agreed on little besides the dire need for new antibiotics.
For years, new antibiotics often were approved based on clinical trials that didn’t have to show the new drug was better than an old one. Instead it had to fall within an acceptable margin of efficacy, which meant it could test somewhat worse and still be considered a success.
Some are suggesting that for community-acquired pneumonia, antibiotics trials might require as many as 10,000 patients at a cost of about $50,000 a patient, or $500 million. “Cubist barely makes that much a year,” he said.
“Nobody can run those trials,” said Shlaes. “They live in a different world. Their world is numbers and logic. It is not patients and life.”
And in my opinin that is the root of the problem. Big Pharma concerned about profits, not patients and life.
When is it appropriate to use antibiotics?
Antibiotics are effective against bacterial infections, certain fungal infections and some kinds of parasites. Antibiotics don’t work against viruses. Taking an antibiotic when you have a viral infection won’t make you feel better — and can contribute to antibiotic resistance.
Ways to avoid antibiotic resistance
Wash the right way. There is some concern that the triclosan in antibacterial soaps could lead to resistance, and it’s not clear whether they’re any more effective than scrubbing for 30 seconds with regular soap and water. Alcohol is also effective surface cleaner that don’t create resistance.
Buy organic. The antibiotics in the feed of some nonorganic farm animals may contribute to antibiotic resistance. Check your local farmers’ markets
Don’t take an antibiotic unless you absolutely have to. “We could probably cut our antibiotic use by 70% if people only took them when they are absolutely necessary,” says Louis Rice, MD, an expert on resistant bugs and chief of medical service at Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center. With some illnesses that typically go away on their own, like ear infections and sinus infections, you can practice “watchful waiting”—get the prescription, but don’t fill it unless the condition persists.
Ask for the shortest course of antibiotics. “The optimal length of antibiotic use for most illnesses may be much less than the current recommendations,” Dr. Rice says. “There might be a three-day course or a seven-day course that is equally effective as a longer one.” For example, when doctors studied treatments for urinary-tract infections, they found that 87% cleared up with a single dose of antibiotics and 94% were cured with a three-day course.
Strengthen your immune sysytem wit proper food and natural supplements.
Teach others how to avoid antibiotics