Loss Of Immunity Due To Misuse Of Antibiotics
With the discovery of penicillin, Sir Alexander Fleming, a Scottish biologist, broadened the horizon of modem medicine. The main purpose of antibiotic therapy is to aid the immune system in combating microbes that temporarily overwhelm the defence mechanism. Victory over these bugs depends on antibiotic efficacy and drug properties of the therapy.
Generally, antibiotics act against live microbes with a different physiology and unique variables that settle in host tissues. The outcome of the disease depends on the nature and capacity of the organism to cause disease, location of infection and possibility of surgical drainage. The ability of the antibiotic to penetrate the infected site and the efficiency of the host defence also plays a role in the outcome of the disease.
Antibiotics are usually administered with a principle of microbial susceptibility and an appropriate dose to reach the infected site. Any imbalance between these, causes the microbes to develop resistance and the super infection of tissues.
Drug resistance is developed by various mechanisms like inability of the drug to penetrate the intended site, or microbes develop escape ways by genetic mechanism.
These complications arise either due to administration of antibiotics that lack drug specificity and appropriate dosage. For example, usage of antibiotics against cold and simple flu leads to drug resistance as these are viral diseases, but antibiotics act against bacteria. Serious overuse of antibiotics in acute cases of diarrhoea and limited use of oral rehydration salt solution is another example of antibiotic misuse.
Due to the widespread use of antibiotics, one common problem that has gained prevalence is that the bacteria have become resistant to the antibiotic
Nowadays, people are aware of the fact that antibiotics are frequently prescribed by doctors even for health issues which antibiotics cannot give relief from, like taking antibiotics for flu symptoms is of no use. Antibiotics are known to work only against bacterial infections and not viruses. Access to affordable health care is limited in many low and middle income countries hence many people rely mainly on self-medication and purchasing of antibiotics directly from pharmacies, street vendors or markets.
Due to the widespread use of antibiotics, one common problem that has arisen is that the bacteria have become resistant to the antibiotic. This is mainly because, people quit their antibiotic medication halfway because they feel tine but on the other hand, the surviving bacteria learns to mutate in to more resistant strains and spread to other individuals. The problem is that antibiotics are not as specific as we’d like. While they do destroy harmful bacteria, they also destroy beneficial bacteria.
Since antibiotics, by definition, are substances or compounds that kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria, it’s good to keep two things in mind. First. antibiotics destroy not only bad bacteria but good ones too. Second, antibiotics are only effective against bacteria and not viruses. While antibiotics certainly have their uses, taking them when unnecessary, can be harmful in many ways. Listed below is a summary of the negatives:
- Diarrhoea and digestive problems.
- Increased resistance to antibiotics.
- Reduction in beneficial phytoestrogens
- Long-term changes in gut microflora and destruction of beneficial bowel flora.
- Impaired immunity and immune suppression especially in children and the critically ill.
- Allergic reactions.
- Overgrowth of candida albicans.
Despite more than 50 years of clinical antibiotic use, the unit dosages, dosing intervals and duration of therapy are not precisely established for the majority of specific infections. A major reason is that each infectious process is a unique host-parasite interaction that cannot be readily analyzed using simplistic formulas. Nevertheless, proper attention to pharmacokinetic principles can greatly facilitate treatment success.
The problem is that antibiotics are not as specific as we’d like. While they do destroy harmful bacteria, they also destroy beneficial bacteria
Physicians must take care to prescribe antibiotics appropriately to minimize the rate of spread of drug resistance. Antibiotic resistance can be minimized by the use of immunoprophylactic strategies and novel immunotherapies such as antibody-based therapies, cytokines, vaccines or other small molecules. Development of immunoprophylactics and immunotherapeutics has marvellous potential to subside the whole burden of infection and infection-related deaths, new antibiotics and immunological strategies complement one another and both are equally essential.