Contributed by Siddarth David & Dr. Tamhankar
A study published in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy found that nearly 5% of the 400 people surveyed had used antibiotics without prescription and nearly one-fourth would intend use antibiotics without a prescription. The study conducted in Texas showed that one in twenty used these antibiotics to treat self-diagnosed viral illnesses like the flu and colds, even though antibiotics don’t work on viruses and one in four said they would use any antibiotic they had in the house to treat a sore throat, cough and runny nose.
The lead author of the study Larissa Grigoryan said that when people self-diagnose and self-prescribe antibiotics it is likely that the therapy is unnecessary because most often these are upper respiratory infections that are mostly caused by viruses. She also pointed out that the most common conditions patients reported self-treating with antibiotics were sore throat, runny nose or cough which were conditions that typically would get better without any antibiotic treatment. The study also showed that about one in twelve respondents had leftover antibiotics available at home which could be used, another critical cause for concern.
The study has shown yet gain that self-prescription of antibiotics was a critical contributor in the process of antibiotic resistance. Awareness and strict monitoring of purchases would be crucial to address the problem and should be part of the local, national and global policies to address antibiotic resistance.