Antibiotic is one of the most common essential drugs after paracetamol. It has also been one of the drugs that are indiscriminately used by patients, pharmacist and doctors.
A young women came up with lower abdominal pain, on an in depth history taking; she said that she took antibiotics for chest pain prior to that for coughing out to hard. It was not a doctor who prescribed the drug but it was some pharmacist who thought that a five day course of erythromycin would make her all better.
When did Antibiotics became an Over The Counter (OTC) drug? Bought and sold indiscriminately without any doctor’s knowledge? Its common in Nepal says a friend; the poor can’t afford consults to doctors which makes them liable to trust the pharmacists.
It’s the consumers (patients) who are naturally endangering their health and the health of the others. Have you heard of antibiotic resistance? I tried to explain those terms in Nepali as much as I could but deep down under I knew she could not associate the fact that her indiscriminate use of antibiotics would spread bacterial resistance.
Like her, millions of people in Nepal have little knowledge when it comes to antibiotic up take; let’s say that half of them don’t even get antibiotics in the first place. I took it for 2 days, I felt better than I stopped, a typical reply from the same patient that I mentioned earlier. There are two down falls to that: a) she invited bacterial resistance, b) economic loss, buying an entire pack of antibiotics and not consuming the rest.
However there are some who find antibiotic usage to be of no use. They take pride in their own immune system and discard what doctors have to give. It basically depends on your immune system but factors like socioeconomic status and nutrition plays a significant factor in an infection.
I have a desk piled with antibiotics says a med student, but I do not take them. It’s not that I do not respect the diagnosis of a doctor but I don’t feel the urge to take them. I got prescribed for antibiotics four times this year and which made me wonder, am I making my body antibiotic dependant? Getting antibiotics from different specialized doctors without anyone taking a prior drug history makes such circumstances possible.
What seems to be apparent is that the local, small pharmacies around the city sell antibiotics without prescription and the well to do pharmacies, ask for prescriptions and if not available they ask to get one by doctors who attend the shop.
Antibiotic usage has to come with common basic sense. COMPLETE THE COURSE! I guess all the doctors instruct patients to but the compliance rate is very poor. Stories like this will keep on recurring and one day bacterial resistance will grow to such an extent that people would not have any antibiotics left to cure the resistant strain of bacteria.
There are varied qualities of antibiotics. We are taught to prescribe antibiotics with caution and choosing antibiotics which suits you the best is the decision that only doctors should take.