Antibiotic misuse and abuse

Be honest with me guys, what’s your relationship with antibiotics like?

Is it a romantic love affair where you gulp down tabs with every slight inconvenience and perceived morbidity?

Do you also self medicate?

If you do, my big question is WHY? Please o stop the horror, you are doing your body no good.

What haven’t I seen in this Medical world! I have come in contact with different species of dangerous patients.

There are those that would Infact take over the doctor job and tell you the meds to write on the prescription sheet. Those ones have collected PhD in the knowledge of antibiotics, they practically know the names of all antibiotics and their classes.

Then there are the special advisers in the antibiotic community. Those ones are mini doctors all by themselves, they don’t bother making it to the hospital for their health concerns, instead they self-medicate. Furthermore, they give advice to all and sundry about the antibiotics that worked wonders for them, even when the condition of those they give advice to might be worlds apart from theirs.

There was a man I once met who was an advocate for amoxicillin! Infact ehn, Amoxicillin was his star drug for any and every illness. The day he came into my consulting room, he boldly told me about his “miracle drug”

In his words, this drug had come through for him and several of his friends/relatives.

Apparently, he recommended the penicillin magic; “amoxicillin” to anyone who cared to listen.

I cried hot tears and laughed simultaneously as he revealed this disturbing information.

Now, I am not here to school you on the various classes of antibiotics or indications for each use. I would however run through the classes and tell you why antibiotic abuse is very dangerous.

Classes of antibiotics

• Aminoglycosides
• Carbapenems
• Cephalosporins
• Fluoroquinolones
• Glycopeptides and lipoglycopeptides (such as vancomycin)
• Macrolides (such as erythromycin and azithromycin)
• Monobactams (aztreonam)
• Oxazolidinones (such as linezolid and tedizolid)
• Penicillins
• Polypeptides
• Rifamycins
• Sulfonamides
• Tetracyclin

Now let’s talk about the misuse and abuse of these medications.

Contrary to popular belief, antibiotics are not the solution to every illness! Know this and know peace.

They are medications that kill and disarm bacteria. They can never really work for other microrganisms such as viruses.

So, what if you are dealing with a viral bug?

Your almighty antibiotics would be absolutely powerless. Viral infections have always been known to run their course, the only thing that can be done is to manage symptoms in the meantime.

So, I am on my knees begging, consume antibiotics with utmost caution. Last last, drugs are chemicals that we take when the benefits outweigh the risks. You don’t want to be consuming a chemical substance that you absolutely do not need. These pills are not candies o, they are chemical constituents that have mechanisms of action.

Ideally, before antibiotics are prescribed, a couple of things have to go hand in hand to show that they are absolutely necessary.

Things like running a Full blood count at the very least, physical assessment of the patient and illness severity. These factors work hand in hand and mostly never in isolation.

It takes the diligence and skill of a medical personal (mostly doctors) to determine the appropriate class of antibiotic and dosage necessary to tackle a bacteria infection.

So just in case you are one of those special advisers please think about the dangerous repercussions of your actions. Yes! There are long term repercussions for the wrong use of antibiotics.

Let’s quickly speak on antibiotic resistance.

A few people reading this would say blah blah we have heard about this resistance it’s no big deal, but I am here to tell you that it is indeed a big deal!

You see, antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in response to the use of these drugs. Bacteria, not humans or animals, become antibiotic-resistant. These resistant bacteria may then go on to infect humans and animals, and the infections become more difficult to treat compared to those caused by non-resistant strain.

It is by no means a good thing, especially if God forbid, you get infected with the non resistant strain. So my dear before you decide to use an antibiotic when you actually do not need one, or fail to complete the dosage amongst other terrible drug compliance practices, think about the non resistant strain of microbes you are bringing into existence.

It is time to do better guys…… IRE o!

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