The newsLINK Group - Using Antibiotics Wisely

Editorial Library Category: General Business | Dental | Endodontics Topics: Dental, Antibiotics Title: Using Antibiotics Wisely Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: Unfortunately, casual overuse of antibiotics has led to the possibility of losing this particular weapon. Mutations have made bacteria increasingly resistant to antibiotics, making it more important than ever that all medical people should know when to prescribe antibiotics and when to hold back. Editorial: Using Antibiotics Wisely 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 Everyone knows that antibiotics revolutionized modern medicine and gave doctors the ability to control some infectious diseases. Penicillin was discovered as recently as 1928, and sulfanilamide was discovered in 1934, but it isn’t too much to say that antibiotics completely changed the way medicine was being practiced. If you had to identify the main reasons why quality and length of life has increased in the U.S. since 1900, you would have to look at improvements in nutrition, hygiene, and sanitation as the main reasons. But no one would argue with the idea that antibiotics can play an important, and sometimes even life- saving, role. More importantly, no one wants to go back to a world without any antibiotics at all. Unfortunately, though, casual overuse of antibiotics has led to the possibility of losing this particular weapon. Mutations have made bacteria increasingly resistant to antibiotics, making it more important than ever that all medical people should know when to prescribe antibiotics and when to hold back. The ADA Council on Scientific Affairs has had a public position statement in effect since 1997 on this subject. Dentists, like other medical specialists, are concerned about the possibility that it may someday be impossible to treat patients with antibiotics. Not only have microbes developed resistance to antibiotics themselves, they have also passed resistance genes to those microorganisms that are still susceptible to antibiotics. The current recommendation is that antibiotics should only be used when an infectious disease is active or when medically high-risk patients need to prevent metastatic infections, such as infective endocarditis. Would this be enough to reverse the development of bacterial resistance? The evidence says yes. Norway has cut back drastically on its use of antibiotics. As a result, staph infections that have killed far too many patients in Europe, North America, and Asia are virtually unknown in Norway. The following sections should help you, as a dentist, to gain a better understanding of what antibiotics are and how they should be used correctly. Antibiotics Suppress the Immune System You may think that antibiotics help the immune system respond to infection. That would be wrong. They inhibit bacterial enzymatic processes and they change mineral balances. In addition, they kill good bacteria as well as bad, and they affect normal cells for the worse. The side effects for antibiotics make them something that should only be used with discretion. Consider one example. The group of people with the highest incidence of AIDS, as of 2009, consisted of male homosexuals. This same group is also the heaviest group of antibiotic users in the U.S. Additionally, there is evidence that antibiotic usage contributes to the likelihood of developing cancer. In a 2008 study, some 3,000,000 people’s medical history was analyzed by dividing the people into three groups: People who had taken no antibiotics at all for two years or more. People who had had antibiotics prescribed two to five times during two years. People who had taken six or more courses of antibiotic treatment in two years. The study then tracked the participants for six years. In that time: Those who had taken antibiotics two to five times had a 27 percent cancer increase as compared to those who had had no antibiotics. Those who took six or more courses had a 37 percent increase in cancer. That isn’t the only evidence about a connection between antibiotics and cancer. Over a period of 17 years, the National Cancer Institute found that women who had more than 25

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