Indiscriminate use of antibiotics has begun to have adverse effect on human health with bacteria showing resistance to medication, warn experts, advising both doctors and patients to use antibiotics with caution. A recently published study carried out in the US claims that antibiotics are prescribed inappropriately nearly 25 percent of the time, with World Health Organisation calling the resistance as ‘one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today’.
Patients who are unnecessarily exposed to antibiotics are placed at risk for serious adverse events with no clinical benefit. Unlike other medications, the potential for spread of resistant organisms means that the misuse of antibiotics can adversely impact the health of patients who are not even exposed to them. It is estimated that millions of people worldwide are infected with antibiotic-resistant organisms, resulting thousands of deaths annually.
In order to curtail the overuse of antibiotics among patients, Bahrain Specialist Hospital has implemented its Antibiotic Stewardship Program that helps minimize the prescription of antibiotics to bare necessity. The hospital has dedicated necessary human, financial and information technology resources for the effective execution of the program. Moreover, it is regularly monitoring antibiotic prescribing and resistance patterns, alongside regularly reporting information on antibiotic use and resistance to doctors, nurses and relevant staff while educating clinicians about the resistance and optimal prescribing.
The Antibiotic Stewardship Program ensures that a patient is treated with the right medication and the right time and for appropriate duration, reducing the adverse reactions to the excessive use of antibiotics.
“When bacteria gets regularly exposed to antibiotics, they begin to show strong resistance to the medicine, a characteristic that is passed on when they multiply. Not only that, they can transfer this resistance to other bacteria as well. Moreover, unnecessary use of antibiotics not just kills the bad bacteria but good bacteria as well, weakening the immune system. As a result, when the patient is in actual need of the medication, it fails to do its job,” explained Dr Kasim Ardati, Managing Director of Bahrain Specialist Hospital.
“From the very inception of BSH we have been collecting information in our laboratory on bacteria that is found in our patients’ test results and studied their antibiotic resistance.Using this information, every year we publish the results for our doctors and nurses, training them to control and restrict the use of antibiotics. Over the years, we’ve noticed that the bacteria that was earlier fighting antibiotic has now become submissive due to restricted use of the medication,” added Dr Ardati.
He also asked public to be mindful of the fact that antibiotics are not needed in viral cases, such as, colds and flu etc.
As per a global pharmaceutical company, if there is no intervention to curb the excessive use of antibiotics the resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
“This is why, as medical practitioners, we have to be mindful of when it’s necessary to prescribe antibiotics and when it can be avoided. With the Antibiotic Stewardship Program at Bahrain Specialist Hospital, we are trying to highlight the issue in the medical fraternity as well as to create awareness among masses regarding the negative side effects of antibiotic overuse,” added Dr Ardati.
The doctor further warned that as antibiotics become ineffective, even common infections can become life-threatening necessitating hospitalization, and may even result in death in extreme cases.Overuse can also cause allergic reactions, diarrhea and colitis, among other serious health issues.
Dr. Kasim O. Ardati (FAAP)
Managing Director, Head of the Pediatrics Department / Pediatrics & Infectious
Bahrain Specialist Hospital