Experts warn against random use of antibiotics

Kathmandu, November 20

Government officials and experts have warned against misuse and overuse of antibiotics, which is threatening to outpace the ability of medicines to cure dangerous infections.

They also highlighted that common illnesses such as cough, cold and diarrhoea do not need to be treated with antibiotics. All patients with such common diseases need to do is to drink fluids and get plenty of rest, say experts.

According to various studies, reuse of antibiotics that have been prescribed for previous illness may lead to antibiotics resistance or unwanted effects.

At an interaction organised by the National Alliance for Antibiotics in the capital today to mark World Antibiotics Awareness Week (November 16-22), Shanta Bahadur Shrestha, secretary at the Ministry of Health and Population, said, “It is urgent to increase public awareness against misuse of antibiotics. It takes a lot of time and money to develop new antibiotics and thus we should wisely use the ones we have. Future generation will need them too.”

Dr Prakash Ghimire of the World Health Organisation, Nepal stressed on rational use of antibiotics. “Indiscriminate use of antibiotics may turn fatal. Let’s use it only when prescribed by registered medical practitioner,” he stated.

Dr Geeta Shakya, director at the National Public Health Laboratory, laid emphasis on the constant Antimicrobial Resistance surveillance for developing necessary policies and interventions.The growing trend of willful sale and use of medicines, especially antibiotics, has been posing the greatest public health threat.

Baburam Humagain, chairperson of the National Pharmacy Council, said injudicious use of antibiotics was leading to antibiotics resistance. “A study recently conducted on patients admitted to Bir Hospital during a period of three months show that 47.1 per cent of them were found to have used antibiotics even for common cold, diarrhoea and skin infections. We need to make further analysis to figure out if they really needed antibiotics,” he said.

Narayan Prasad Dhakal, durg administrator at the Department of Drug Administration, informed that the government had developed National Action Plan on AMR to make the doctors and patients responsible towards preventing misuse of antibiotics.

Experts say random use of antibiotics is likely to increase antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the body. Indiscriminate and unnecessary use of antibiotics can make them less effective when they are required to be administered for serious ailments. Drug stores are also selling antibiotics freely without advising them to see doctors.