Stop amoxicillin abuse!

Stop amoxicillin abuse!

The most abused antibiotic for colds and flu is Amoxicillin. The majority of people walk into the pharmacy and demand amoxicillin capsules for their flu or cold! Children are also given amoxicillin even for minor flu or cold symptoms. Over the counter, parents often demand this suspension for their kids.
What is Amoxicillin?

Amoxicillin is a prescription antibiotic which is used to treat a wide variety of bacterial infections. This medication is a penicillin-type antibiotic. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria.
Amoxicillin treats only bacterial infections. It will not work for viral infections (such as common cold, flu). Amoxicillin is also used with other medications to treat stomach/intestinal ulcers caused by the bacteria H. pylori and to prevent the ulcers from returning. Unnecessary use or misuse of any antibiotic can lead to its decreased effectiveness.

Development of resistance
Development of resistance to amoxicillin can be transferred horizontally from one species of bacteria to another, so if multiple bacteria having different antibiotic resistance grow together e.g. in the bowel it can result in a very multi drug-resistant bacteria; and if such a bacteria enters the person’s body, they will have a big problem getting it properly treated; some even have died because of multi drug-resistant bacteria. In countries like Lesotho, where lay people without a doctor’s prescription are able to buy antibiotics just like that, the risk is even higher.
The health care providers especially Doctors, Pharmacists and Nurse Clinicians must bear in mind as they undertake their daily duties that anti-microbial resistance is a global threat, growing at an alarming rate, as per World Health Organisation (WHO) reports. The topic on rational prescribing when it comes to antibiotics cannot be over-emphasised. Amoxicillin is not a painkiller, nor an anti-viral, it must thus be prescribed rationally to safeguard the lives for which an oath was taken, and must be observed.

The patients also must not demand amoxicillin for minor colds and flu symptoms. If Amoxicillin is prescribed for one member of the family, it MUST not be shared with other members regardless of the similar symptoms. The antibiotic course must be completed for the given duration of treatment. Anti-Microbial resistance might not be written on the individual’s face but it is real and very dangerous because it leads to treatment failure/limited treatment options. The truth is that lives can be lost in the process.

Retšelisitsoe Nkhahle

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