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Why do antibiotics become ineffective over time?

16 May 2017, 09:00

Antibiotics are considered to be one of the most common drugs. However, they should be taken with caution, since such drugs can lead to aggravation of the disease, as well as to the emergence of new varieties of microorganisms resistant to the effects of the usual antibiotics.

More than fifteen years ago, scientists first raised the issue of bacterial resistance, when microorganisms stop responding to antibiotics. For example, already a few decades after the discovery of penicillin group drugs, every second staphylococcal bacterium stopped responding to the medication. But at that time, the specialists did not consider this a problem, hoping that new, more effective antibiotics would be found in place of penicillin. But, in fact, everything turned out differently. New antibiotics if they are created, then only on the basis of "old" prototypes.

An example is antibiotic therapy for gonorrhea. A dozen years ago, the disease could be cured with virtually no problems. However, at present, more than 60% of pathogenic microorganisms that cause gonorrhea do not perceive antibiotic treatment. Scientists are perplexed: it is quite possible that even in a dozen years, this disease will simply have nothing to cure.

Why does this happen?

Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor V. Rafalsky argues that the whole fault is the frequent and uncontrolled use of antibiotics by patients - and this method is far from always justified. Since such drugs are most often dispensed in pharmacies without a prescription, people buy them themselves and take it for almost any disease. Incorrect treatment with drugs generates so-called "addictive" and adaptation of bacteria to antibiotic therapy.

Also important is the lack of new antibiotics in the pharmaceutical market. Scientists have calculated that the creation of even one new drug costs millions of dollars. In this case, pathogenic microorganisms quickly become resistant, and the new drug also ceases to "work". This leads to the fact that it is simply not profitable to create another newest antibacterial medication.

What can be done in this situation? Experts agree: doctors should reconsider their attitude to antibiotic therapy and prescribe such drugs as rarely as possible. In addition, you must do everything possible to prevent the self-treatment of patients. In most European countries, antibiotics are purchased in pharmacies only if there is a prescription from the doctor. In our country, as in other countries of the post-Soviet space, medicines are sold without any restrictions. Specialists sound the alarm: antibiotics are very serious medicines, the taking of which without the need can be very dangerous. Do not take these drugs for prevention: the development of resistance of bacteria can lead to the fact that at the time when antibiotics are really needed, they will not have the necessary effect.

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Medical expert editor

Portnov Alexey Alexandrovich

Education: Kiev National Medical University. A.A. Bogomolets, Specialty - "General Medicine"

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