Pharmaceutical International News - November 2009

Warning on Over-Prescribing Antibiotics: Pharma News

Posted by Paul Fiddian on 09/11/2009 - 15:46:13

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A new warning has gone out to doctors to reign in the number of antibiotic prescriptions they are issuing. This time, it's the ECDC (European Centre of Disease Prevention and Control) that's behind the urge, highlighting the impact that over-prescribing could have on hospital operations in future years. Its call comes after a whole series of similar warnings issued by medical professionals and governments alike over how increased use of antibiotics is heightening resistance, in the UK especially.

Antibiotic Over-Prescription

As far as the ECDC is concerned, a number of frequently-performed operations might not be as effective in an age where the power of antibiotics has been suppressed to the point where they simply don't work anymore. In connection with this, its desire is for EU governments to kick-start new campaigns focused on the issue of antibiotic over-prescription.

"If this wave of antibiotic resistance gets over us, we will not be able to do organ transplants, hip replacements, cancer chemotherapy, intensive care and neonatal care for premature babies", ECDC professional Dominic Monnet stated in comments published by the Daily Telegraph newspaper. "It is the whole span of modern medicine as we know it, that we will not be able to do if we lose antibiotics", he added.

In spring 2009, a large-scale advertising drive was launched by the British government, which advised on how antibiotics were ineffective against colds and coughs. This message was backed up by a spokesperson for the Department of Health, who told the BBC: "Using antibiotics when they are not necessary will increase resistance to them and make it difficult to treat serious bacterial infections in the future."

"If you are suffering with cold symptoms or a sore throat you should rest, take plenty of fluids and speak to your pharmacist who will advise you on over-the-counter remedies that are available", she added.

Antibiotic Resistance

Similar antibiotic resistance statements have also emerged from other organisations, such as the Health Protection Agency and NICE - the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.

More recently, a separate warning was issued to Doctors concerning a specific type of drug - namely antidepressants. The message here was that long-term antidepressant prescriptions were fuelling a situation in which more of the drugs were being given out while - at the same time - fewer new depression cases were being diagnosed.

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