Are Antibiotics the Answer?

Antibiotics have become very common in modern medicine. They can be very effective in curing some illness, therefore doctors prescribe often. Antibiotics kill bacteria in the body, therefore they are used to cure illnesses such as strep throat or pneumonia. An example of when not to use them would be for something like a common cold or flu. This entry does not focus on when to take them however, but rather what happens when you take them too often. Antibiotic resistance has become a growing problem over the past couple years, and people have started taking notice. When doctors prescribe antibiotics to a patient too often, or prescribe a drug that is too powerful relative to their illness, they begin to build a resistance. As mentioned on fda.gov, antibiotic resistance can lead to longer illnesses, more complex illness, more doctor visits, and the use of stronger drugs.

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(image via www.telegraph.co.uk)

Too much of a good thing can be harmful, and antibiotics are no exception. The overuse of antibiotics can harm one’s ability to fight bacteria later in life. In an Oxford journal, published in September 2007, antibiotic resistance is referred to as a “crisis” in the United States. The journal also mentions how antibiotic resistant diseases have skyrocketed while the amount of research going into new drugs has staggered significantly. The researchers at oxford blame a multitude of the things for this, namely the government. The authors of this journal point to the government’s lack of legislature demanding new research for alternative drugs.

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(image via globe-views.com)

If doctors are prescribing antibiotics poorly, then there is also a possibility that a larger problem within the United
States health care system exists. The solution in this case would not be better drugs, but rather better doctors. If the latter is true, then the real solution would consume a larger amount of resources then the United States would want to spend on the issue. This means the only real
solution is better drugs, given that improving or replacing doctors would be near impossible at this time. Even with better drugs however, the risk for misprespcribing is still there.

In conclusion, the need for new drugs that kill bacteria has become critical, and with little push from the government, the solution to this problem seems very far away. In the meantime all we can do is try to limit our use of antibiotics for when we truly need them, and encourage government spending on new alternative forms of medication.

 

One thought on “Are Antibiotics the Answer?

  1. Holly Rubin

    Very interesting article, I know that I’m always nervous to go on antibiotics. it reminds me of getting a flu shot when you are putting the virus into you to get rid of it. It always confused me how people didn’t get immune to medicine, especially antibiotics, but now it makes sense.

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