Thursday, January 28, 2016

Don't Prescribe Antibiotics for Colds: High-Value Advice to Doctors

Contributed by: Siddarth D & Dr. Tamhankar

Last week the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued advice that doctors should be very judicious about prescribing antibiotics. It has reiterated that antibiotics should be used after following assessing the absolute need for it.
In a paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine clinicians are given high-value-advice to only prescribe antibiotics if pneumonia  or streptococcus infections is suspected. It also asks them to reserve antibiotics for colds lasting at least 10 days or more. The paper asks clinicians to explain to the patients why antibiotics was not prescribed in their case.

The paper and advice comes at the right time. It is the season for colds and respiratory ailments and many people rushing to doctors for medications and often are prescribed or demand for antibiotics. Following strict clinical protocols and explaining the use or non-use of antibiotics to the patients can reduce the dependence on antibiotics for treating respiratory ailments which are one of the most common causes for people to pop antibiotics. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Silent Issue of antibiotic use in Agriculture and Animal Husbandry

Contributed by: Siddarth D & Dr. Tamhankar

While there is substantial global pressure on rationalizing  antibiotic use in humans across the world, antibiotic use in animals is seldom touched upon. The "Review on Antimicrobial Resistance" commissioned in the UK by the Prime Minister to boost awareness of the economic issues surrounding the development, spread and containment of antimicrobial resistance, recently published a report placing a lot of the onus on the animal husbandry and agriculture sectors for development of antimicrobial resistance in animals that can be passed on to human beings.

The report states that while the use of antibiotics in agricultural animals is expected to double between 2010 and 2030 on average, the use of agricultural antibiotics improves animal growth rates by less than five percent. The report calls for global targets and standards to reduce antibiotic use in agriculture as well as critical improvements in the surveillance of antibiotic use in agriculture.

The report though not a scientific document, it does lay the foundations of evolving consensus in policy to address the issue of resistance in agriculture which is till yet to fully studied and acknowledged. It is also a call to other countries like India to conduct its own research and come up with policies to address the challenge of antimicrobial resistance in agriculture which is a real issue that is largely silent up till now.