Managing Antibiotic Resistance
As a marketer and supplier of antibiotics we view quite seriously the rising antibiotic resistance in human population around the world. We support the medical community’s new thinking that the old prescribing guidelines which amount to basically one-size-fits-all standard treatments by this venerable class of drugs should now be carefully reviewed to limit improper and over-use.
We are quick to pop-in an antibiotic at the first moment of wheezing and sniffling and a scratchy throat, the usual symptoms of a common cold and flu. But if this discomfort is due to a virus, it is unlikely that the antibiotic is the right treatment. Some of these symptoms may be better treated with herbal medicines, such as Echinacea. Antibiotic acts only against bacterial infection. It may be more appropriate to prescribe other treatments for the symptoms until the patient shows clear signs of bacterial infection.
Some researchers now also point to evidence that when the drug is prescribed to treat infections--pneumonia, ear, skin and urinary tract infections, for instance--it may not be necessary for the patient to complete the full “complete the course” regimen, usually ten days for many types of infections. A group of infectious disease experts in a study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in July 2017 argue that it is not necessary to “complete the course.” The patient may get off the antibiotic when he or she “feels better.” The experts assert that taking antibiotic when it is no longer needed may also be contributing to antibiotic resistance.
But there exists no conclusive evidence or agreement across the professional medical organizations as to what is the right duration of antibiotic use. “Feeling better,” is a subjective call—the patient, for instance, may feel better on antibiotic while the infection is still lingering--and stopping the medication can cause a relapse.
Perhaps medical guidelines should not prescribe a standard course, but require the doctor to direct the duration, case-by-case with a watchful eye, based on the type of infection and the patient’s health—shortest duration that eliminates infection without causing a relapse.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Public Health England have modified their previous guidelines “complete the course” to “exactly as prescribed.”
There is no doubt that improper use of antibiotics has resulted in a major public health issue. Bacteria have evolved into new strains to resist the antibiotic. Experts point out that not only the bacteria the antibiotic is treating develops resistance, but a host of other organisms, both good and bad, in the body are exposed to it. For instance, antibiotics destroy good bacteria essential for a healthy body, which may require taking probiotics (tablets and capsules containing strains of living, beneficial bacteria) to compensate for the loss.
At Paradigm, we are aware of the rising public health issue of antibiotic resistance. While supporting the medical community’s recent move to contain the misuse and overuse of antibiotics, we have added to our portfolio natural products to treat symptoms which may not be caused by bacterial infection, as well as probiotics to supplement healthy bacteria in the body destroyed by antibiotics.