Archive for March, 2009

The misuse of antibiotics not only happens when patients abuse their prescription medications, but it can also happen by mistake of the physicians, nurse practitioners, or physician’s assistants who prescribe these drugs. An example of the dangers of medicines prescribed by doctors can be seen through the story of my grandfather.

Many years ago in India, my grandfather owned acres of land where he grew crops like sugar cane and rice. As he was walking through the field one day, he tripped and injured his knee. Instead of seeing his regular doctor, he decided he would save time and show the local doctor in the neighborhood, which turned out to be a very bad idea. The doctor took a look at his knee and prescribed a medicine and said it would heal the injury; however, the pain began to increase, so my grandfather went back to the physician to let him know. The doctor then said an injection would be needed, so he gave a shot of antibiotics to heal the injury. This shot was too much for my grandfather to handle, and caused toxicity in his body; the doctor had overdosed the medicine without even realizing it. As my grandfather went back home, his family members noticed that he was acting strange and was much more hyper than usual. A few hours later, he began bleeding at the mouth, became unconscious, and eventually, the drug poisoning had taken my grandfather’s life away.

This shows the importance that physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician’s assistants hold when prescribing medications to their patients and how careful they have to be; one too many prescriptions could cause very serious damage, and even death. Hopefully, the medical field has improved throughout the years in India and all over the world, and doctors realize that they should not make rash decisions without thinking their thoughts through. Medications are misused every day, but with the proper education and learning, both prescribers and patients should take precautions to prevent themselves and others from danger.


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The FDA wants doctors to be more careful about giving antibiotics when they are not needed.

They will require new labeling for doctors.
One of the new labels must say that these drugs should be used only for infections caused by bacteria. Another label will ask doctors to explain the right way to use the drugs to their patients.

What can you do to prevent antibiotic resistance?
Don’t demand an antibiotic when your doctor says you don’t need it.
Don’t take an antibiotic for a virus (cold, cough, or flu).
-Take your medicine exactly the way the doctor says. Don’t skip doses.
Don’t stop taking your medicine when you feel better. Take all the doses.
Don’t take leftover medicine.
Don’t take someone else’s medicine.
Don’t rely on antibacterial products (soaps, detergents, and lotions). There is no proof that these products really help.

For more information visit this site:

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3 Ways of Antibiotic Resistance

There are three ways how antibiotic resistance happens. One is through DNA mutation, or transduction, second, through transformation, and lastly, which is the most horrifying is from a plasmid, or conjugation.

For more information, click here


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Not using antibiotics in the proper way can be very dangerous, and even deadly. Two examples of the horrific consequences of the misuse of prescription drugs can be seen by the late model Anna Nicole Smith and the late actor Heath Ledger.

Many people believe that the main cause of Anna Nicole Smith’s death involved the misuse of prescription drugs. Smith had been treated for an addiction to pain killers a few years earlier, and had previously been using a weight loss drug called ephedra, which has now been taken off the market because it is known to have caused damage to the lining of the heart in some users. Many prescription drugs were also found in Anna Nicole Smith’s hotel room, including an anti-anxiety medication called Valium, which can be addicting if it is misused. Many of these antibiotics she was taking may have caused dangerous drug-drug interactions, which led to toxicity and overdose. Anna Nicole Smith’s twenty-year-old son had also died when his anti-depressants and methadone caused a deadly interaction.


Read this article for more information about “the death of Anna Nicole Smith and the epidemic of prescription drug addiction.”

CNN reported that Heath Ledger had died from “an accidental overdose of prescription medications including painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs and sleeping pills.” He had been known to be taking hydrocodone and oxycodone, both of which are painkillers, diazepam, an anti-anxiety medicine also commonly known as Valium, temazepam, a sleep medication, alprazolam, another anti-anxiety drug that is commonly sold as Xanax, and doxylamine, an over-the-counter antihistamine drug that can be used as a sleeping pill. The combination of these drugs became toxic and sadly killed Heath Ledger.

Here is what Ledger’s father had to say:
“While no medications were taken in excess, we learned today the combination of doctor-prescribed drugs proved lethal for our boy. Heath’s accidental death serves as a caution to the hidden dangers of combining prescription medication, even at low dosage.”


Read more about Heath Ledger’s accidental overdose.

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Antibiotics for a cold?

Here’s a fun fact: Seven out of ten Americans receive antibiotics when they seek treatment for a common cold!
Lets look at a case where antibiotics are misused:

-Patient X comes in with cold/flu like symptoms. The patient then pressures the doctor into prescribing an antibiotic to get a quick fix to his/her illness.

What’s wrong with this?
Answer: Antibiotics won’t cure a cold because colds are caused by viruses, not bacteria.

How many times have you stopped taking medicine prescribed by your doctor in the middle of treatment? Antibiotics are misused because many patients do not take them according to their doctor’s instructions. They may stop taking their antibiotics too soon, before their illness is completely cured. This allows bacteria to become resistant by not killing them completely.

So the moral of the story is: next time you are prescribed an antibiotic, either finish it or don’t take it at all.

For more information visit: http://www.vhct.org/case899/correct_use_of_antibiotics.htm


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Poverty and inequity are major drivers of antimicrobial resistance. In developing countries they are linked to inadequate access to effective drugs, unregulated dispensing by unqualified staff and truncated therapy for reasons of cost. The widespread and frequently unnecessary use of antibiotics is also related to health system weaknesses, with poorly trained care providers and lack of suitable laboratory facilities frequently resulting in inappropriate treatment.

For example, because of limited capacity to obtain a bacteriological diagnosis of typhoid fever, treatment is often initiated with ineffective antibiotics and changed to second line therapy following clinical treatment failure. In other instances, physicians may choose to initiate treatment unnecessarily with second line antibiotics. Sometimes alternative antibiotics may not be available at all.

Resistant bacteria are often more virulent, leading to more severe illness. Multidrug-resistant (MDR) typhoid, for example, is associated with greater clinical severity of illness and more complications than the non-resistant form of the disease. So increasing antibiotic resistance is associated with higher economic burden on health systems from the combination of higher rates of complications and enhanced health care costs.

All of the previous information was provided by:

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What can you do to help?

As future nurses creativity is something we must utilize to help patients not only understand how to use their medicines but also help them feel comfortable to know that they are using their medicines in the right way. Something creative I found are these
Antibiotic safety bookmark

This is an easy creative way to inform people about antibiotic misuse. If you want to help in the fight against resistant bacteria then please pass these bookmarks on!

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