Roshan Gyanwali: With the increasing influence of internet and social media on developing countries, the practice of self medication has become common some time with the antibiotics, however in developed countries the practice of self medication has considerably not so much as developing countries which might be due accessibility of health care systems for public, strict rules and regulation or health policies, high literacy rate, and most important factor is financial strength as compare to low income countries. However, opposite factors may drive the contribution to self medication in developing countries.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines self-medication as “the selection and use of medicines by individuals to treat self-recognized illnesses or symptoms”. Apart from W.H.O definition of self medication it can be understood as “selection and use of medicine by an individual (or member of individuals’ family) to treat self-recognized or self diagnosed health conditions and symptoms”.
W.H.O reports stated that the public of developing and developed countries almost entirely don’t have adequate knowledge about what, how, how much, when to use antibiotics properly due to lack of supervision of professional health care or by bypassing consultative and diagnostic healthcare services that generally misuse antibiotics. Antibiotics are a group of medicines that help get rid of infection caused by microorganism or bacteria or the drug utilized to treat infections.
Before the discovery of antibiotics first in the 1920s, numerous people died from minor microorganism or bacterial infections such as strep throat, respiratory tract infection, urinary tract infection and minor surgery was fraught with danger too. Moreover, to treat disease caused by microorganisms, antibiotics open the door for many modern medical procedures possible, inclusive of cancer treatment, organ transplantation and open-heart surgery.
The introduction of antibiotics into clinical use was probably the greatest medical breakthrough of the 20th century. Without antibiotics, great achievements of today’s medical science could be out of imagination, antibiotics made a tremendous contribution towards public health likewise after discovery of antibiotics people could survive even from mortal infectious disease, surgery got easy and safe and more important life expectancy increased. From the benefits of antibiotics, antibiotics are a blessing for modern medical science. We can say without hesitation because apart from antibiotics saving lives, they have a significant role in achieving major advances in medicine and surgery.
Antibiotics successfully proved, treated or prevented infections in people who are receiving chemotherapy treatment, who have chronic disease likewise end-stage renal disease, or rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes; or who have had complex surgeries such as cardiac surgery, joint replacement, or organ transplants. As compared to developed countries, developing countries still suffer from poor sanitation, in such cases antibiotics decrease the mortality and morbidity caused by food borne and other poverty related infections.
Along with the gift of antibiotics for public health, the modern healthcare facilities thought that the battle with infectious disease was won. However many bacteria or microorganisms become resistant to various antibiotics, the battle has seemingly escalated towards favor of microorganism or disease causing bacteria. Antibiotics are powerful tools against microbial infection when used carefully and safely. But about one-half of all available antibiotics isn’t necessary.
Overuse and misuse of this valuable medicine has rapid drive towards antimicrobial resistance with some infections now effectively untreatable. Essential drawback of antibiotics self medication rapid rise and spread of antibiotics resistance all over the world, various case reports suggested inappropriate drug dispensing without prescription is popular in developing countries as compared to developed countries. Indiscriminate use of antibiotics expands the severity of adverse events, drug interaction, microbial infection, hypersensitivity, symptoms of drug discontinuation, drug interaction, and more critical correct diagnosis tends to delay due to masking of disease symptoms by the inappropriate use of antibiotics.
Due to overuse or misuse of antibiotics over a long period of time pathogenic bacteria become “superbugs”; which is the most important complication of self medication with antibiotics, due to development of multi drug bacterial resistance such bacteria can cause life threatening infection so that antibiotics no longer work on them. There isn’t any medicine to kill them is the biggest threat to human health.
In recent scenarios of public health antimicrobial resistance contributes significantly to the increasing burden of health care in public health, the usage of antibiotics on human health saved millions of lives but its unduly utilization against the infection has resulted in antimicrobial resistance. Antibiotics resistance is now appraised as global health care facilities threat and responsible factors such as incomplete administration of antibiotics dosage, over and irrational prescription of antibiotics, overuse of antibiotics in both animals and humans, poor infection control in the health care setting and self medication have contributed to it.
Antibiotics resistance refers to the phenomena antibiotics lost its activity at its therapeutic level and unable to effectively stop the growth of bacteria. Antibiotics resistance may result in long duration hospitalization, chronic illness, more health facilities visit, increased health care cost due to need for expensive medication and more importantly even death. Up to 2050, worldwide 10 million deaths are attributable due to antibiotics resistance if the current trend will continue.