Warning over misuse of antibiotics

By Ian Dipple Wednesday 21 November 2012 Updated: 21/11 14:03

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COMMON diseases may be untreatable in future if antibiotics continue to be misused.

Doctors in Redditch have backed European Antibiotic Awareness Day which is aimed at highlighting increasing antibiotic resistance and encourages responsible use of the drugs.

As well as working with GPs and health professionals to ensure the drugs are only used when necessary, Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group is also urging parents not to take antibiotics for coughs, colds, sore throats and other viral infections as they do not work.

Antibiotics are used to treat infections caused by bacteria but the microorganism adapts and finds ways to survive meaning they become less effective over time.

The more often they are used the more likely bacteria will become resistant to antibiotics and their misuse can also increase the risk of hospital patients being infected with resistant superbugs such as MRSA and Clostridium Difficile, which are more difficult to treat.

Dr Jonathan Wells, chair and clinical lead of Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG, said: "Many antibiotics are prescribed and used when they don’t need to be. Misuse of antibiotics is causing more bacteria to become resistant. It is important we use antibiotics in the right way to slow down resistance and make sure these life-saving medicines continue to stay effective for ourselves and future generations."

Residents are also being warned against taking antibiotics when not prescribed by a health professional as they can kill friendly bacteria and cause side effects such as diarrhoea and thrush.

Jane Stockley, consultant microbiologist at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust which runs the Alexandra Hospital, said: "It is important not to take antibiotics for the wrong reasons.

"Only take antibiotics when they have been prescribed by a doctor and follow your doctor’s advice on how to take the antibiotics so they can stay effective also in the future.

"Do not keep leftover antibiotics. If you have received more doses than you were prescribed, ask your pharmacist about how to dispose of the remaining medicines and always seek your doctor’s advice before taking antibiotics."

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