Super Bug Infections
(ARA) - Penicillin, the first antibiotic, was
developed during World War II, and it literally
changed the course of medical history. Before
penicillin, as many as half of all pneumonia
patients died. Since then, many other antibiotics
have been developed, each of which works in
a slightly different way. But they all have
two things in common:
Antibiotics are ineffective against colds and
Antibiotics are only effective against bacteria
- they are completely useless against colds
and flu viruses.
Misuse of Antibiotics can produce Super Bugs
must be taken exactly as directed. "Patients
have told me they took half their prescription
and then stopped; or worse yet, gave some drugs
to a friend or family member, even though that
person hadn't seen a doctor," says Marissa
Schlaifer, director of Pharmacy Affairs for
the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy. "Patients
don't realize it's exactly that type of misuse
of antibiotics that can cause super-resistant
strains of bacteria to develop."
giving drugs to someone else can result in a
serious reaction if that person has an allergy
to the compound, or an interaction with another
medication. When a patient stops taking a drug
prematurely, or only takes half the indicated
dosage per day, bacteria are weakened, but do
not die. Instead, they eventually develop a
resistance to the drug and become even stronger.
"super bugs" are much more difficult
to treat. Many antibiotics have lost a great
deal of their effectiveness since they were
If your doctor prescribes an antibiotic for
you, be sure you understand how to take it,
and for how long. If you have any questions
about how it works or what the potential side
effects could be, talk to your doctor or your
pharmacist. Many health plans have pharmacists
available for counseling over the telephone.
Check your benefit booklet or your pharmacy
ID card for an 800-number.
only by patients, doctors and pharmacists working
together that we can prevent the evolution of
these deadly super bugs," Schlaifer says.
"If we don't use antibiotics properly,
we could face a future in which even an infected
cut could have deadly consequences."
Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy's
mission is to serve society by using sound medication
management principles and strategies to achieve
positive patient outcomes. For more information
about AMCP visit the website at http://www.amcp.org
Courtesy of ARA Content