Antibiotics resistance is an emergent threat to public health of multiple sectors of many countries. This resistance occurs within a wide range of infectious agents. A post-antibiotic era, in which common wounds and infections may lead to death, far from being imaginary, is now possibility for the 21st century. Increasing prevalence of resistance is predominantly due to inadvisable use of non-prescribed, wide spectrum antibiotics. Many doctors prescribe even for the treatment of viral infections.
Antibiotics are the synthetic agents that have been effectively used for the treatment and prevention of life threatening bacterial infections. With the discovery of these agents and understanding of microbiological basis of disease, even severe infections become treatable. However, bacteria are adaptable creatures; they have the ability to develop resistance to antibiotics.
Efficacy of antibiotics has been reduced due to the rapid emergence of resistance and infections caused by these resistant bacteria. Moreover, it has been accelerated due to irrational use of these drugs as well as poor sanitary conditions. These resistant infections are responsible for increased treatment cost, prolonged hospital stay and elevated mortality rate.
Benefits of antibiotics
Antibiotics are miraculous agents/cornerstones of medicine; played a pivotal role in field of surgery and medicines. They are successfully used to treat or prevent secondary infection; in the patients suffering from chronic diseases like end-stage renal disease, diabetes or chronic arthritis or in those who had gone/passed through major and complex surgical treatments.
Clinical applications of antibiotics
Antibiotics also increase the life expectancy by altering the prognosis of bacterial infections. It has been revealed that in early nineties the average life expectancy was 50-55 years old; but now it is nearly 80 years. In the developing areas, different combinations of antibiotics are widely used for treatment of life threatening infections (Ventola, 2015).
Economic burden of antibiotic resistance on population
Health budgets are badly influenced/ affected by the resistant bacterial infections. Physicians may be forced to prescribe toxic and expensive antibiotics, when 1st and 2nd line antibiotic therapy stocks are limited (Golkar et al., 2014). In US alone, it is estimated that the drug resistance is responsible for almost two million infections and 23,000 deaths per annum, resulting in an expense of twenty billion dollars and additional losses of 35 billion in productivity. The death toll due to resistant infections has risen to a whopping number of 25000, costing one billion euros per year.
Health benefits that have been attained through the use of antibacterial therapies are now at risk due to the rapid emergence of resistant bacteria. It is a global threat reflecting the irrational use of these agents and lack of interest of pharmaceutical industry to develop new antibiotics. To tackle/manage this issue there is an imperative need to renew and implement the new health policies in health care systems.
Moreover, the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance can be minimized by making early intervention against cross infections caused by multiple drug resistant bacteria residing in the gut, through the proper monitoring of gut microbiome, by enhancing public awareness, maintaining proper and an adequate disposal system to halt movement of bacteria from Gastrointestinal Tract Infections (GIT) and by the rational and sensible use of antibiotics.
This article is jointly written by Muqaddas Jan*, Muhammad Naeem Faisal, Wafa Majeed, and Shahrukh Samson from Institute of Pharmacy, Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad. *Corresponding author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org