Amid reports of growing resistance to anti-biotics, Nobel laureate John Robin Warren has reiterated the popular perception and warned against the excessive use of antibiotics to treat even minor ailments and over-prescription by doctors.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 102nd Indian Science Congress, Warren advised against over-use of antibiotics. “‘I think one of the current issues globally is the increasing use of antibiotics and the increasing resistance to antibiotics. If that keeps growing, we are going to be in real trouble,’ warned Warren.
A recent study by researchers at the George Washington University in the US found that consuming an unnecessary amount of antibiotics could lead to antibiotic resistance, affecting treatment of secondary infections and allergic reactions.
“Patients figure that taking antibiotics cannot hurt, and just might make them improve,” said David Broniatowski of the George Washington University. “More than half of the patients we surveyed already knew that antibiotics do not work against viruses, but they still agreed with taking antibiotics just in case,” he said.
For the study, the researchers surveyed 113 patients in an urban hospital and discovered a widespread misconception among patients who want antibiotics, even if they are aware that drugs will not improve their viral infection.
These patients believe that taking the medication will not worsen their condition, as the risk of taking unnecessary antibiotics does not outweigh the possibility of help it could create.
“We need to fight fire with fire. We need to let them know that antibiotics can have some pretty bad side effects, and that they will definitely not help cure a viral infection,” Broniatowski said.
The study appeared in the journal Medical Decision Making. It may be noted that other studies have also shown that anti-biotics are facing resistance to treat major cases of tuberculosis.