Antibiotics: Reasons And Consequences Of Usage
Humans have suffered from numerous infectious diseases for many years before the invention of the antibiotic. An antibiotic is an antimicrobial chemical, which destroys or stops the bacterial growth. The first antibiotic was Penicillin, discovered by Sir Alexander Fleming in 1928. (Ngan, V & Writer. S, 2005). Since then, death toll caused by bacterial infection has decreased significantly. Two main reasons for people using antibiotic are treating infectious disorder and preventing bacterial diseases before and after having surgery. The overuse of antibacterial medication gives rise to antibiotic resistance of microorganisms and many side effects on the human body, such as fungal infection, dysbacteriosis, and digestive system problems.
One reason for people using antibiotics is the curing of infectious disorders. As a rule, human immune system acts against pathogenic microorganisms without any medicine. Protected from the infectious diseases, people have a great opportunity to survive a hundred years in hostile surroundings. Due to lack of immune response, people are becoming vulnerable to bacterial infections. Antibiotics are used to treat considerable number of bacterial infectious diseases, such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, bacterial meningitis and sepsis.
Sepsis is one of the most common and life-threatening bacterial infection, which is cured by antibiotics. According to Timothy E. Sweeney, Hector R. Wong and Purvesh Khatri (2016), the delay of antibiotic use increased the mortality rate of bacterial sepsis by 8% for each hour. Moreover, people who are over 70 years old, infants who at higher risk of infectious diseases and some chronic diseases, such as heart failure, diabetes and immune deficiency (HIV and chemotherapy) are required to take antibiotics.
Another main reason for people using antibiotics is prophylaxis of the surgical site infections. Having a surgery, such as joint replacement, organ implantation and removal surgery could highly increase the risk of bacterial infection. According to Annals of Surgery (2015), 462 patients who had abdominal aorta and lower extremity vasculature surgeries was asked to use placebo and cefazolin. Patients who used placebo was in 6.8% of infection rate, whereas people who took cefazolin was in 0.9%. Four of total 18 infections required vascular grafts which all occurred in the placebo group. Over 8% of patients with abdominal wounds who received placebo was infected which against 1.2% of patients who used cefazolin. 1.1% of people with groin wounds were infected for placebo patients versus none for cefazolin patients. Likewise, medical doctors recommend using antibiotics after injuries, such as bone fractures, wounds and animal bite. In addition, the rate of antibacterial prevention has been increased worldwide by dentists. Dental patients who are aged over 60, have a periapical abscess and irreversible pulpits, the implanting of teeth and general cosmetic procedure are prescribed to use antibiotics. (American dental association,2016)
One of the most harmful consequences of the use of antibiotics is antibiotic resistance, which has been increasing rapidly in the last few decades. The overuse or misuse of antibacterial treatment leads to growing number of bacterial infections that are becoming resistant to antibacterial medications. In many developing countries, people are able to buy antibiotics without prescription and it is affordable and abundant because of the lack of policies of antibiotics which encourages the overuse of this chemical. According to Lee Ventola (2015), In bacteria, genes can be inherited from relatives or can be acquired from nonrelatives on mobile genetic elements such as plasmids. This horizontal gene transfer can allow antibiotic resistance to be transferred among different species of bacteria. Historically, bacterial infectious disorders, such as pneumonia, group A streptococcal infection, tuberculosis, meningitis and otitis were cured easily with one first-line antibiotic. However, nowadays, roughly 70% of bacterial infections are resistant to at least one of the first- line antibiotics, that means some bacteria cannot be treated with singular first- line antibiotics, and it needs to choose double or triple antibiotic complexes. There are some bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Vancomycin- resistant Enterococci (VRE), extended- spectrum beta- lactamase (ESBL) and enterobacteriacea Pseudomonas aeruginosa and acinetobacteria which are becoming a huge danger in the globe in the last century and results in the increasing rate of illness, death, hospitalization length and cost of health care. (Medina, E. Pieper, D.H, 2016).
Another consequence of taking antibacterial medicine is short- term and long- term side effects of antibiotics. Taking the medicine incorrectly, such as choosing insensitive antibiotics, taking antibiotics wrong way, high dosage or long period of time has increased the risk of reducing the human microbiome. Normally, trillions of healthy microbes live in the human body, particularly in the gastrointestinal tract balancing and protecting the organism from pathogenic microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses and fungus. However, microbes have been destroyed by antibiotics, as a result numerous disorders, such as inflammatory diseases, allergies, fungal infections, cancer and diabetes has been grown without difficulty. (LIoyd-Price, J. Abu-Ali, G. Huttenhower, C, 2016) In most of the cases, antibiotics are used orally, which results in some gastrointestinal illnesses such as gastrointestinal ulcers and erosion. Moreover, the most antibiotics can cause the allergic reactions and intolerance. Previous study indicated that approximately 80% of patients who visited an emergency center by allergic reactions was resulted from antibiotics. The most serious and common antibiotic allergic reaction is an anaphylaxis, which can threaten human life.
In conclusion, antibiotics are essential medical product, saving millions of human lives. The active ingredient of this drug acts against bacterial infections but cannot fight other microorganisms. There are two main reasons for people to use an antibiotic, which includes the treatment and prevention of the infectious diseases. Although antibiotics treat numerous diseases and save the human life, it has some consequences. The overuse or misuse of the antibiotic has spread worldwide rapidly because of poor antibiotic policies. That causes the danger of the antibiotic resistance and other serious side effects. If people do not control the antibiotic use properly, it will become a danger to human life.