Antibiotic misuse, (sometimes called antibiotic abuse or antibiotic overuse) refers to the misuse and overuse of antibiotics which has serious effects on public health. Antibiotic resistant bacteria is a growing threat and becoming increasingly common. This overuse creates multi-antibiotic resistant life threatening infections by "super bugs", sometimes out of relatively harmless bacteria. Antibiotic abuse also places the patient at unnecessary risk of adverse effects of antibiotics.
A recent study concerning the proper use of this class in the emergency room revealed that 99% of these prescriptions were in error. Out of the 100 total patients studied, 81 received a fluoroquinolone for an inappropriate indication. Out of these cases, 43 (53%) were judged to be inappropriate because another agent was considered first line, 27 (33%) because there was no evidence of a bacterial infection to begin with (based on the documented evaluation) and 11 (14%) because of the need for such therapy was questionable. Out of the 19 patients who received a fluoroquinolone for an appropriate indication, only one patient out of 100 received both the correct dose and duration of therapy.
Within a 1994 study, it was found that 75% of the fluoroquinolone prescription issued within a long term care setting were judged to be inappropriate . In more than 50% of the cases reviewed, the fluoroquinolone used were not considered to be a first line agent.
Social and economic impact
Increased hospitalizations attributed to adverse drug reactions alone account for billions of dollars of expenses each year within the US healthcare system. Severe reactions do occur with antibiotics and can add significantly to the cost of care. Antibacterial adverse effects account for nearly 25% of all adverse drug reactions amongst hospitalized patients. Adverse drug reactions to fluoroquinolones are easily misdiagnosed as seizure disorder or regular CNS or psychiatric symptoms. The diagnosis of quinolone toxicity or adverse reaction are also missed. Adverse event reporting in Italy by doctors showed fluoroquinolones among the top 3 prescribed drugs for adverse neurological and psychiatric adverse effects. These neuropsychiatric effects included: tremor, confusion, anxiety, insomnia, agitation and in severe cases psychosis. Moxifloxacin had the worst effect amongst the quinolones for causing CNS toxicity. The central nervous system is an important target for fluoroquinolone mediated neurotoxicity.
Though antibiotics are considered to be a very important and necessary drugs required to treat severe and life threatening bacterial infections, antibiotic abuse has contributed to the problem of bacterial resistance. The overuse of antibiotics by children suffering from otitis media and others has given rise to a breed of super bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics entirely.
The overuse of fluoroquinolone and other antibiotics will eventually result in them becoming useless for treating antibiotic-resistant infections, which broad-spectrum antibiotics are supposed to be reserved.
The over-prescribing and inappropriate use of antibiotics is fueling antibiotic resistance in bacteria. For example the inappropriate widespread use of fluoroquinolones as first line antibiotics is leading to decreased bacterial sensitivity, which has important implications for certain serious bacterial infections such as those associated with cystic fibrosis where quinolones are among the few available antibiotics.
Only about 5-10% of bronchitis cases are caused by a bacterial infection. Antibiotics have no effect upon viral infections such as the common head cold. Most cases of bronchitis are caused by a viral infection and are "self-limited" and resolve themselves in a few weeks. The use of antibiotics such as ofloxacin to treat bronchitis is to be considered unnecessary and as such exposes the patient to an unacceptable risk of suffering a severe adverse reaction. Nor does antibiotic treatment help sore throats. Prescribing antibiotics for sore throats encourages increased visits to the doctor. As most cases of sore throats are viral and are self limiting it has been recommended that antibiotic treatment is delayed in most cases. Nevertheless, for severe forms of community-acquired pneumonia the fluoroquinolones seem to be associated with improved treatment rates, but with no differences found in mortality between antibiotic regimens. In spite of this caveat, the use of the fluoroquinolone to treat community acquired pneumonia (CAP) increased by >50%, from 25% to 39% of all prescriptions. This increase was at the expense of the macrolide class of antimicrobial drugs, the use of which declined 20% during the study period.
As with other fluoroquinolones their use as first line agents is not generally recommended. They are usually reserved for use in patients who are seriously ill and may soon require immediate hospitalization. Though considered to be a very important and necessary drug required to treat severe and life threatening bacterial infections, the associated overprescribing of fluoroquinolones remains unchecked, which has contributed to the problem of bacterial resistance. The overuse of antibiotics such as happens with children suffering from otitis media has given rise to a breed of super bacteria which are resistant to antibiotics entirely. “Fluoroquinolone resistance is an increasing problem not only in the U.S. but also worldwide, potentially due to the widespread misuse of this class of antimicrobials.” For example the use of the fuoroquinolones had increased three-fold in an emergency room environment in the United States between 1995 and 2002, while the use of safer alternatives such as macrolides declined significantly.
Chronic pelvic pain (category IIIB) is often misdiagnosed as chronic prostatitis and needlessly treated with a fluoroquinolone drug. Within a Bulgarian study, where by definition all patients had negative microbiological results, 65% of patients experienced an adverse drug reaction who were treated with a fluoroquinolone in comparison to a 9% rate for the placebo patients. This was combined with a higher cure rate (69% v 53%) found within the placebo group. The authors stated that “The results of our study show that antibiotics have an unacceptably high rate of adverse side effects as well as a statistically insignificant improvement over placebo...” Prostatitis has been termed "the waste basket of clinical ignorance" by prominent Stanford University Urologist Dr. Thomas Stamey. Campbell's Urology, the urologist's most authoritative reference text, identifies only about 5% of all patients with prostatitis as having bacterial prostatitis which can be "cured" at least in the short term by antibiotics. In other words, 95% of men with prostatitis have little hope for a cure with antibiotics alone since they don't actually have any identifiable bacterial infection.
There are limited indications for ciprofloxacin as a first-line therapy within long term care facilities. Within a 1994 study it was found that 75% of the prescriptions for fluoroquinolones issued within a long term care setting were judged to be inappropriate by the authors. In more than fifty percent of the cases reviewed fluoroquinolones were not considered to be a first line agent.
Another widespread example of antibiotics overuse or abuse is the partial adherence of the dental practitioners and dental patients to the previous (1997) guidelines of the American Heart Association for the prevention of infective endocarditis rather than the current (2007) guidelines which dictate a more restricted antibiotic use.
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Pharmacology: major drug groups Gastrointestinal tract/metabolism (A) Blood and blood forming organs (B) Cardiovascular system (C)Antihyperlipidemics (Statins, Fibrates, Bile acid sequestrants) Skin (D) Genitourinary system (G) Endocrine system (H) Infections and infestations (J, P, QI) Malignant disease (L01-L02) Immune disease (L03-L04) Muscles, bones, and joints (M) Brain and nervous system (N)Analgesics • Anesthetics (General, Local) • Anorectics • Anti-ADHD Agents • Antiaddictives • Anticonvulsants • Antidementia Agents • Antidepressants • Antimigraine Agents • Antiparkinson's Agents • Antipsychotics • Anxiolytics • Depressants • Entactogens • Entheogens • Euphoriants • Hallucinogens (Psychedelics, Dissociatives, Deliriants) • Hypnotics/Sedatives • Mood Stabilizers • Neuroprotectives • Nootropics • Neurotoxins • Orexigenics • Serenics • Stimulants • Wakefulness-Promoting Agents Respiratory system (R) Sensory organs (S) Other ATC (V) Antibacterials: protein synthesis inhibitors (J01A, J01B, J01F, J01G, QJ01XQ) 30S-mycin (Streptomyces)-micin (Micromonospora)Tetracyclines 50SLinezolid • Torezolid • Eperezolid • Posizolid • RadezolidPleuromutilins EF-GSteroid antibacterials #WHO-EM. ‡Withdrawn from market. Clinical trials: †Phase III. §Never to phase III Antibacterials: cell envelope antibiotics (J01C-J01D) Intracellular Glycopeptide β-lactams/
(penams)Mecillinam (Pivmecillinam) • SulbenicillinPenemsCefixime# • Ceftriaxone# • antipseudomonal (Ceftazidime# • Cefoperazone) • Cefcapene • Cefdaloxime • Cefdinir • Cefditoren • Cefetamet • Cefmenoxime • Cefodizime • Cefotaxime • Cefpimizole • Cefpiramide • Cefpodoxime • Cefsulodin • Cefteram • Ceftibuten • Ceftiolene • Ceftizoxime • oxacephem (Flomoxef, Latamoxef ‡)4th (antips-)Ceftobiprole • Ceftaroline fosamilCombinations
Other #WHO-EM. ‡Withdrawn from market. Clinical trials: †Phase III. §Never to phase III Antibacterials: nucleic acid inhibitors (J01E, J01M) Antifolates
DNA and RNA synthesis)Sulfonamides
DNA replication)1st g.2nd g.3rd g.4th g.Vet.Related (DG)
RNA synthesis #WHO-EM. ‡Withdrawn from market. Clinical trials: †Phase III. §Never to phase III Antibacterials: others (J01X) Other/ungrouped
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