by Internet Medical Society
According to the CDC, antibiotic resistant microorganisms were responsible for infecting more than 2 million people in 2013. The death toll of these kinds of infections reaches out to 23,000 per annum. Prevention is of the essence and so physicians and pharmacists should help address this problem. Prevention prevails over cure any day of the week!
Prevention is better than cure, provided either of them is possible. Nobody can deny this, unless economic profit is more of a concern than health is. Progress in the fields of medicine and pharmaceutics gives us the ability to treat many diseases. Of course there are still incurable diseases, in which cases prevention is a matter of life and death. For example, screening for colon polyps and remove them before they turn into malignant can prevent colon cancer, the treatment of which is very difficult. Prevention is extremely important and it can save lives!
Primary, secondary or tertiary prevention can cover different cases and necessities in health care system. It has to do with many diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart diseases, vaccinations, sexually transmitted diseases, addiction to drugs or medications like opioid analgesics, mental disorders and suicidal behaviors and finally antimicrobial resistance. As a pharmaceutics student, my main focus will be on antimicrobial resistance and the meaning of prevention. How can physicians and pharmacists address this problem? As health care regulators we can contribute in many ways.
Antibiotics are used for treating infections caused by pathogenic bacteria. However, widespread use of antibiotics leads to antibiotic resistance among bacteria. As a result, lots of antibiotics cannot be used to treat these infections over time.
First of all, pharmacists should be well informed about the proper use of these medications. This presupposes good training of pharmacy students according to the latest developments in research. Community or clinical pharmacists are not at liberty to diagnose the cause of infections but they are responsible for the proper administration of medicines and guidelines to patients. Pharmacists cannot prescribe antibiotics. However, patients more than usually refer to phramacists for treatment. How can pharmacists address this situation?
Prevention can also be related to compliance of guidelines and proper use of antibiotics. If antibiotics are not taken long enough, too many of the bacteria causing the infection can survive inside the body. Furthermore, vaccination or dermal hygiene can prevent infections. It is necessary for pharmacists to be able to suggest alternative OTC medications and restrict the use of antibiotics, especially that of broad spectrum antibiotics. Pharmacists should also be able to tailor the dosage according to the situation. For example, an obese patient may need a higher dosage in order for it to be therapeutic, when a lower one could contribute to the problem of antimicrobial resistance. Nowadays, patients can very well buy antibiotics online. It would be of utmost importance if pharmacists contributed to the elimination of these sales, placing economic profit aside in favor of public health concerns.
Physicians in collaboration with pharmacists can and should educate the general public. It is important for us to inform our fellow citizens about the threat of antibiotic resistance and the risks that lay beyond. As public servants, pharmacists should organize or participate in campaigns and symposia. Respective websites should also act as sources of information on the matter.
Finally,nanoengineers have developed a gel filled with toxin-absorbing nanosponges that could lead to an effective treatment for skin infections caused by MRSA,without the use of antibiotics. This is a new approach to the issue of antibiotic resistance! Pharmacists and medicians,who are expertised, have an important role in new researches and should contribute in these in many ways!