Excessive use of antibiotics : Another Stupidity (3), What’s Next?

This is the 3rd “Another Stupidity” theme post for me. Based on my experience when I was suffering cough and flu in Indonesia.

Cough and flu are pretty “usual” in Indonesia people, but it can be worst also. I was grow up in this tropical country and pretty familiar with cough and flu. It was odd experiences for me to find antibiotic in drugs prescription. More than just personal experiences. World Health organization (WHO) in 2005 also found an average of 50% prescription drugs in health centers and hospital in Indonesia contain antibiotics.

Use of antibiotics has reached an alarming level in Indonesia, fuelled by poor diagnosis, ignorance and poor regulation of drug. The most recent survey, conducted by Purnamawati’s foundation in 17 Indonesian cities, revealed that antibiotics were prescribed in 78.4 percent of cases of respiratory and stomach illnesses in children in 2008 – against 54.5 percent in 2006. Such conditions are generally caused by viruses which are not treated by antibiotics. So does for viral infections like flu and cough.  Antibiotics do not work on viruses. Antibiotics also will not help coughs from allergies.

Antibiotics is an important discovery in the health world. But these drugs can not cure all ills. Use of the irrational will bring harm than good. The habit of giving antibiotics to an improper dose, wrong frequency of administration, and timing of which is too long or quickly reduce the efficacy of antibiotics as a germ killer. Ineffective therapies will pose a serious drug resistance. According to the Health Protection Agency 30 percent of respondents buy antibiotics each year. Proved that the more often we are taking antibiotics, the more likely run into resistance. Another problem rise when patients tend to not spend a prescription for an antibiotic  and will consume the rest if one day sick again.

Indonesia was eighth among countries with Multi Drug Resistance (MDR) cases caused by the misuse of antibiotics. Today Indonesia has facing Multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). About 6,395 new TB cases had been predicted to appear in Indonesia every year.

Next day, it can be MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).   Resistance does make MRSA infection more difficult to treat with standard types of antibiotics and thus more dangerous.

Whether doctor doesn’t know about antibiotic resistant when they wrote drugs prescription or it is just like a gift ever just a gift between physicians and pharmaceutical industry.

Recommended journal links:

1. Self medication with antibiotics in Yogyakarta City Indonesia: a cross sectional populatio-based survey

2. Physicans and the Pharmaceutical Industry Is a Gift Ever Just a Gift?

3. Cough and Flu season: No reason for antibiotics

4. Effect of antibiotic prescribing in primary care on antimicrobial resistance in individual patients: systematic review and meta-analysis

5. Industry-to-Physician Marketing and the Cost of Prescription Drugs


6 thoughts on “Excessive use of antibiotics : Another Stupidity (3), What’s Next?

  1. Hi, Kofee! I found you just now on my Facebook feed. Happy to see you! We have a problem with overuse of antibiotics in the USA too. We have no new antibiotics to treat antibiotic-resistant illnesses either! It is a serious worldwide problem.

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