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Global rise in use of antibiotics may lead to resistance among bacteria, Study
- Updated: July 12, 2014
Common antibiotics may make you feel better, but using too many may do more harm than good. According to a new study published online in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases, antibiotic use has jumped 36 percent worldwide over a decade, with much of it unwarranted. The increase, heightens concerns that overuse of antibiotics is leaving more of the world’s population vulnerable to drug-resistant bacteria. Antibiotic resistance is a growing public health problem, with doctors no longer being able to use previously effective drugs to treat certain infections. The study provides the most comprehensive long-term view of antibiotic use in 71 countries from 2000 to 2010. Due the study a few countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – accounted for more than three-quarters of the rise in antibiotic use and researchers suggest that the rise in consumption could not be explained by population changes alone and appeared to parallel economic development. “People are getting richer and can afford antibiotics,” said Thomas Van Boeckel, a Princeton University epidemiologist and lead author of the study. “That is not necessarily all bad news. People need access to antibiotics. But there is appropriate use and misuse.” Researchers found the sharp rise in consumption of broad-spectrum carbapenems antibiotics, such as ampicillin and amoxicillin; and polymyxins, often used against enterobacteriaceae, such as salmonella and shigella. This misuse and overuse of antibiotics leads to antibiotic resistance among bacteria. For example, physicians around the world are struggling with outbreaks of carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, as well as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. “If we lose the effectiveness of these drugs, there really isn’t much left,” Van Boeckel said in a statement. Researchers called for international guidelines governing prescription and sale of antibiotics and a uniform system for reporting antibiotic use, writes the Los Angeles Times. And remember, often you don’t need antibiotics. Excercising, eating healthy foods, reducing stress and stopping smoking are all things that can be done to prevent many life-threatening illnesses.