World Antibiotic Awareness Week: What can Pharmacist Do?

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Key facts:

Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today.

Antibiotic resistance can affect anyone, of any age, in any country.

Antibiotic resistance occurs naturally, but misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the process.

A growing number of infections – such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, and gonorrhoea – are becoming harder to treat as the antibiotics used to treat them become less effective.

Antibiotic resistance leads to longer hospital stays, higher medical costs and increased mortality.

Scope of the problem

Antibiotic resistance is rising to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world. New resistance mechanisms are emerging and spreading globally, threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases. A growing list of infections – such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, blood poisoning and gonorrhoea – are becoming harder, and sometimes impossible, to treat as antibiotics become less effective.

Where antibiotics can be bought for human or animal use without a prescription, the emergence and spread of resistance is made worse. Similarly, in countries without standard treatment guidelines, antibiotics are often over-prescribed by health workers and veterinarians and over-used by the public.

Without urgent action, we are heading for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries can once again kill.

Prevention and Control

Health professionals:

To prevent and control the spread of antibiotic resistance, health professionals can:

Prevent infections by ensuring your hands, instruments, and environment are clean.

Only prescribe and dispense antibiotics when they are needed, according to current guidelines.

Report antibiotic-resistant infections to surveillance teams.

Talk to your patients about how to take antibiotics correctly, antibiotic resistance and the dangers of misuse.

Talk to your patients about preventing infections (for example, vaccination, hand washing, safer sex, and covering nose and mouth when sneezing).

Healthcare industry:

To prevent and control the spread of antibiotic resistance, the health industry can:

Invest in research and development of new antibiotics, vaccines, diagnostics and other tools.

Antibiotics: Handle with care

World Antibiotic Awareness Week aims to increase awareness of global antibiotic resistance and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.

A global action plan to tackle the growing problem of resistance to antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines was endorsed at the Sixty-eighth World Health Assembly in May 2015. One of the key objectives of the plan is to improve awareness and understanding of antimicrobial resistance through effective communication, education and training.

The theme of the campaign, Antibiotics: Handle with Care, reflects the overarching message that antibiotics are a precious resource and should be preserved. They should be used to treat bacterial infections, only when prescribed by a certified human or animal health professional. Antibiotics should never be shared or saved for the future.

WHO is encouraging all Member States, health partners and students, and the public to join this campaign and help raise awareness of antibiotic resistance. A variety of resources are available to support local campaigns and a number of additional materials will be made available in the lead up to the week.

Antibiotic Resistance:
Antibiotic resistance occurs when an antibiotic has lost its ability to effectively control or kill bacterial growth; in other words, the bacteria are “resistant” and continue to multiply in the presence of therapeutic levels of an antibiotic. Why do bacteria become resistant to antibiotics?

What is an antibiotic resistant bacteria?
Antibiotic resistant bacteria are bacteria that are not controlled or killed by antibiotics. They are able to survive and even multiply in the presence of an antibiotic. Most infection-causing bacteria can become resistant to at least some antibiotics

What are the two ways that bacteria can acquire antibiotic resistance?
Bacteria can acquire antibiotic resistance genes from other bacteria in several ways. By undergoing a simple mating process called “conjugation,” bacteria can transfer genetic material, including genes encoding resistance to antibiotics (found on plasmids and transposons) from one bacterium to another.

How is the problem of antibiotic resistance in bacteria an example of natural selection?
Antibiotic resistance is a consequence of evolution via natural selection. The antibiotic action is an environmental pressure; those bacteria which have a mutation allowing them to survive will live on to reproduce. They will then pass this trait to their offspring, which will be a fully resistant generation.

WHAT CAN PHARMACIST DO?
1. Dispense Antibiotics only when they are needed according to current guidelines
2. Check whether the patient have valid prescription for the Antibiotics
3. Check the prescription for Right drug, Right dose and Right duration
4. Explain about the need of Antibiotics in the treatment of case of Cold and Flu
5. Talk with patient on the topics such as Correct use of Antibiotics, Antibiotic resistance and the danger of misuse
6. Talk with patient for different strategies for preventing infection such as Use of Handwash, Vaccination, Safer sex etc

References:
1. http://www.who.int
1. emerald.tufts.edu/med/apua/about_issue/about_antibioticres.shtml
2. www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Antibiotic_resistant_bacteria
3. www.tufts.edu/med/apua/about_issue/about_antibioticres.shtml
4. www.sciencedaily.com/terms/antibiotic_resistance.htm

Team Pharmacy Infoline
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