The news article began, “Misuse of antibiotics has led to a global health threat: the rise of dangerous—or even fatal—superbugs.” The MRSA bug that you are probably familiar with was described along with a newer superbug called Klebsiella pneumoniae, or CRKP. The overuse of antibiotics is breeding superbugs which aren’t responding to treatment.
What is “misuse” of antibiotics? Well, the most common manner is seen when an antibiotic is prescribed for a viral infection. Antibiotics don’t work on viruses. Yet, antibiotics are commonly prescribed with everything from a common cold (viral) to other minor self-limiting conditions. The more that antibiotics are exposed to the world, the more the bugs develop resistance, until the antibiotics aren’t effective against the bugs anymore. But what’s at the real root of the overprescribing? Are doctors totally to blame? Yes and no. Doctors prescribe antibiotics when they aren’t needed because patients insist on them; patients often insist on getting something. The age-old problem is that if the doctor won’t prescribe something, the patient will go to a doctor who will. The doctor is to blame for not doing what is right regardless of whether the patient leaves his practice or not, and the patient is to blame for insisting on antibiotics for a self-limiting condition. The old saying, “A doctor who treats himself has a fool for a patient” comes to mind.
It seems that a large number of T.V. commercials are advertising medications. We commonly hear, “Ask your doctor if (drug) is right for you.” The T.V. is exerting enormous pressure onto the doctor-patient relationship - - - for the doctor to prescribe what the patient thinks he needs, based on a T.V. or magazine advertisement. Meanwhile, we are becoming an increasingly drugged society and superbugs are becoming rampant. We probably all agree that too many people are on too many drugs, but it’s the other guy’s drugs that are in excess, not ours!! Perhaps if our mindset was less on instant gratification (cure) and less on finding our emotional and physical health from a bottle, we wouldn’t treat our bodies like a toxic dump site and we wouldn’t be producing these superbugs.