World Antibiotic Awareness Week: Are over-the-counter antibiotics even safe for your health? | Pakistan Today

World Antibiotic Awareness Week: Are over-the-counter antibiotics even safe for your health?

With the growth of antibiotic resistance complicating treatments for several diseases, it is possible that a point may be reached where common infections become incurable. Antibiotic resistance is a global threat to health and is part of a bigger problem called antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

AMR refers to the ability of a microorganism (like bacteria, viruses, and some parasites) to stop an antimicrobial (such as antibiotics and antivirals) from working against it. As a result, standard treatments become ineffective; infections persist and may spread to others, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Each year, drug-resistant infections kill around 7, 00,000 people worldwide, and by 2050, this figure could increase to 10 million. A World Bank report analysing the economic threats of AMR also suggests a decline of 3.8% of world’s annual GDP by 2050. In developing countries like India and Pakistan, the problem of antibiotic resistance is even more crucial as these countries bear a huge burden of infectious disease.

With the easy availability of cheaply priced antibiotics over-the-counter, there is growing antibiotic use. The result of such overuse, and often misuse, of drugs is antibiotic resistance.

Besides urinary tract infections, antibiotic resistance is making it difficult to treat ICU (intensive care unit) infections and central lung infections. Both therapeutic and non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in poultry and other animals are also contributing to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance, according to experts.



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