AN­TIBI­OTIC OVERUSE A DEADLY PRE­SCRIP­TION

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Opinion - Rick Lee - Edi­tor

STATIS­TICS show that Aus­tralians are some of the big­gest users of an­tibi­otics in the world and the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment plans to launch a strat­egy to com­bat an­tibi­otic re­sis­tance. Some mi­crobes have al­ready de­vel­oped re­sis­tance to treat­ments and health au­thor­i­ties are wor­ried that it could lead to wide­spread deaths from dis­eases that were con­trolled by an­tibi­otics. Overuse is a big fac­tor in the in­crease in re­sis­tance. In many cases, doc­tors do not have al­ter­na­tive treat­ment op­tions for th­ese in­fec­tions. Ac­cord­ing to re­search, in 2013 10 mil­lion Aus­tralians (45 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion) re­ceived 29 mil­lion pre­scrip­tions for an­tibi­otics. A re­cent sur­vey showed 60 per cent of doc­tors would write a pre­scrip­tion if a pa­tient de­manded an­tibi­otics, even though it might not be a use­ful treat­ment. The new na­tional strat­egy will look at ways to pre­vent re­sis­tance and re­duce in­ap­pro­pri­ate use of an­tibi­otics. Hope­fully health au­thor­i­ties find a so­lu­tion be­cause an­tibi­otic re­sis­tance is po­ten­tially one of the big­gest threats to mankind.

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