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Monday, 19 May 2014

Specialist: Limit prescription rights

Unnecessary use of antibiotics can result in drug-resistant bacteria.

Unnecessary use of antibiotics can result in drug-resistant bacteria.

KUALA LUMPUR: Doctors should restrict the unnecessary use of broad spectrum antibiotics.

Limiting their prescription rights is also necessary in view of the increasing bacteria resistance to a wide range of antibiotics, said Universiti Malaya’s de­­partment of medicine Assoc Prof Dr Sa­­sheela Ponnampalavanar, who speciali­ses in infectious diseases.

“Although all antibiotics used for bacterial infection could cause resistance, some such as fluoroquinolones, broad spectrum cephalosporins and carbape­nams are the main drives of multi-drug resistant organisms,” she told The Star.

“These drugs should be strictly restricted to the treatment of specific bacterial infections and used only if alternative antibiotics are not available.”

Dr Sasheela said the Health Ministry should strictly monitor their use not only in public and university hospitals but also among general practitioners and private hospitals.

She said prescribing rights to these antibiotics should also be limited.

“To reduce multi-drug resistant organisms in our community, the right to prescribe these antibiotics should be given to only doctors trained to use them prudently,” she said.

For public hospitals, the prescribing of medicines, including antibiotics, is guided by the ministry’s drug formulary. The category of prescriber determines what medicines, including antibiotics, can be initiated.

In Australia, broad spectrum antibiotics could only be prescribed with approval by designated authorities for very specific infections, Dr Sasheela said.

The World Health Organisation’s Anti-microbial Resistance Global Report on Surveillance 2014 revealed antimicrobial resistance was a major threat to public health worldwide and, without urgent coordinated action by many stakeholders, common infections and minor injuries that had been treatable for decades could once again kill.

The Star reported on Friday that the National Surveillance of Antibiotic Resistance (NSAR) showed increasing resistance in bacteria towards antibiotics which could lead to some people dying when the last line of antibiotics do not work.

Dr Sasheela also said the NSAR should include private hospitals and be made easily available on the Health Ministry’s website.

“This will keep hospitals on their toes to maintain good antibiotic prescribing and infection control practices,” she said.


Related stories:

Most sore throat cases do not merit antibiotics use

MMA: Monitor private hospitals and GPs for antibiotic abuse

Tags / Keywords: Health , Family Community , Transparent move against superbug


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