Experts flag risk of self-medication, say antibiotic resistance a ‘hidden pandemic’

Experts flag risk of self-medication, say antibiotic resistance a ‘hidden pandemic’
File/ GK

Srinagar, Mar 5: Day after Indian Medical Association (IMA) released an advisory regarding indiscriminate use of antibiotics, the Valley-based doctors in Kashmir have asked people to avoid self-medication and consumption of antibiotics without proper prescriptions.

On Friday, Indian Medical Association (IMA) released an advisory urging people to avoid taking antibiotics like Azithromycin and Amoxiclav amid rising cases of cough, cold and nausea across the country.

The advisory signed by Dr Sharad Kumar Agarwal, National President, IMA, and other members has said that taking antibiotics when there is no requirement of it leads to antibiotic resistance.

The Valley-based doctors said that antimicrobial resistance is the biggest “but hidden pandemic of current times. ”

Dr Saleem Khan, HoD Community Medicine at Government Medical College (GMC), told Greater Kashmir that self-medication of antibiotics especially for mild infections leads to antibiotic resistance among the masses.

“Time is not far when people will suffer from infections as in the pre-antibiotic era as no antibiotic would work. The empirical treatment given by practitioners using high end antimicrobial agents without culture and drug sensitivity is also a big challenge,” Dr Khan said.

Dr Showkat Ahmad Kadla, HOD Gastroenterology at Super Speciality Hospital Srinagar, said that people usually self-medicate in Kashmir.

 “Even patients who have IBS consume antibiotics without consulting a doctor. Consuming antibiotics every time and self-medicating is not good,” he said.

Doctors said the unregulated and unwarranted dispensing of medicines by chemists without prescriptions needs to be dealt with by regulatory authorities.

“The awareness among masses regarding judicious use of antibiotics shall be the priority of health systems enabling scientific use of antibiotics,” they said.

According to IMA, advisory doctors and medical practitioners across the country should give preference to symptomatic treatment only as there is no need to give antibiotics.

“People start taking antibiotics like Azithromycin and Amoxiclav etc , without caring for dose and frequency and stop it once they start feeling better . This needs to be stopped as it leads to antibiotic resistance. Whenever there is real use of antibiotics, they will not work due to the resistance,” reads an advisory.

According to the advisory, there is a sudden increase in the number of patients having symptoms of cough, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, fever, body ache, and diarrhoea in some cases. The infection usually lasts for about five to seven-days.

The fever goes away at the end of three days, but the cough can persist for up to three weeks.

“For instance, 70% of diarrhoea cases are viral diarrhoea, for which antibiotics are not needed but are being prescribed by doctors,” reads advisory.

The most misused antibiotics are amoxicillin, norfloxacin, ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin, levofloxacin. These are being used for diarrhoea and for UTI. “We have already seen widespread use of azithromycin and ivermectin during Covid and this too has led to resistance,” reads an advisory.

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