Over-the-counter sale of antibiotics needs to stop: AIIMS doctor

| Updated: 15 March, 2023 2:57 pm IST
Dr. Naval Kishore Vikram, Endocrinologist and Professor, Department of Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

Rampant misuse of antibiotics through self doctoring can have severe repercussions on the health of people in the vulnerable age group. The majority of coughs, colds or fever that Indians suffer from are due to viral infections. Antibiotics have no effects on them. It is bound to create multiple side effects and can result in life threatening  Diarrhoea, research shows.

Dr. Naval Kishore Vikram, Endocrinologist and Professor, Department of Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi told The New Indian, “We need to rationalise the use of antibiotics. Antibiotics are often being misused. In any kind of illness such as most common viral fever patients or their family without getting proper investigation use antibiotics and they are using it without any prescription.”

“Antibiotics are drugs which are not supposed to be sold over the counter. This awareness has to be incorporated in the public as well as need to be enforced on the pharmacist or to the chemist,” emphasised the doctor.

Too much use of antibiotics kills good bacteria from our system, and impacts our natural immune response to diseases.

“Because of the antibiotics the resistant bacteria have grown to a great extent and now we are requiring higher and higher antibiotics to counter these. This pattern was initially limited to a large extent to hospitals, but now we are seeing the resistance to several of the pathogens at large in the communities as well. It is happening because lots of antibiotics are being used unnecessarily,” says Dr. Vikram.

Experts state that use of too much antibiotics is especially harmful in the vulnerable age group. The capacity of the body to fight back is enormous in case anybody gets any infection but for those who belong to the vulnerable age group, the fighting is not at the optimum level.

Antibiotics are of no use when we fall sick due to viral infection, unless there are superadded infections (when a fresh infection is superimposed on another one).

Here people with stomach upset also take antibiotics, observes the leading Endocrinologist.

Clostridioides difficile is a bacteria that causes Diarrhoea and and inflammation of the colon.

It typically occurs after use of antibiotic medications and commonly occurs in old patients.

Data shows that in the United States almost 200,000 people are infected annually with C. difficile in a hospital or care setting.

“In cases of use of antibiotics over years, several adverse effects may arise and one of the most important adverse effects is Diarrhoea. Sometimes it can lead to infection with a bug called Clostridioides difficile which is difficult to eradicate and can lead to prolonged diarrhoea,” says Dr. Vikram.


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