The Daily Nash-on

a mindstream from just another statistic…

Damn, Antibiotics

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I have heard of rampant antibiotic abuse often, doctors prescribing antibiotics for no good reason…and so on. I just did not think it will happen so blatantly within the family. I used to think of it as a remote problem of the uneducated, something that Doctors do to make money. But it seems not. Some very enlightening insights from the research I did on the matter puts the verdict down clearly. Indian medical specialists are skilled, but the average Indian doctor is horribly ill-informed. And the worst part is, there are people I know, who are supossed to be trained with a more scientific outlook…yet they well subscribe to “sheep mentality” and blindly follow the doctor. Man, what a world.

Here is the background :

“On audit, irrational prescriptions, are referred back to the prescribing doctors, and rationality enforced where required. Some of the examples of irrationality in anti-infective drug prescriptions which we encountered, were combinations of bacteriostatic with bactericidal drugs, combination of antibiotic with chemotherapeutic agent, prophylactic use of antibiotics in conditions like viral fever where these were not required, prescriptions based on symptoms without mentioning diagnosis, and problems associated with doses and duration of therapy.”

Reference : Pharmaco-epidemiology of Antibiotics: Our Experience
Dr.Vijay Thawani*, Kunda Gharpure** and Dr.B.D.Paranjpe***
WHO RHF Vol. 2 – Antibiotics

I hope that is sufficient evidence that this happens. If you do not beleive me, go to your doctor and complain of a long lasting cough. Chances are, he will give you a pill with Erythromycin (or some such broad spectrum variant like Azithromycin).

It’s time to put the record straight. “Antibiotics” by definition are…well, exactly what their name says : AntiBIOTICS. Bios = Life. They work against living entities. They stop life processes. Viruses are NOT living, they have no metabolism to knock off. Antibiotics will not work against viruses. They are not designed to. They are not even expected to. They have nothing to do with viral flu? Does that stress the point enough?

Okay, so what do you do to kill viruses? There are drugs , aptly called “Antiviral drugs”. Here’s one of them , it called Acyclovir

It works by knocking of the cellular metabolic machinery that is involved in viral synthesis, PROBABILISTICALLY.
You’d take this drug only if you were suffering from a highly infectious viral disease…such as HIV, HTLV, HCV, HPV, Hepatitis A/B/C and so on. You do not take this drug for a flu. Get it?

Four antiviral drugs (amantadine, rimantadine, zanamavir and oseltamivir) have been approved for treatment of the flu. If taken within 2 days of getting sick, these drugs can reduce the symptoms of the flu and shorten the time you are sick by 1 or 2 days. They also can make you less contagious to others. All of these drugs must be prescribed by a doctor and taken for 5 days. These antiviral drugs are effective only against influenza viruses. They will not help the symptoms associated with the common cold or many other flu-like illnesses caused by viruses that circulate in the winter.

Here is what Centre for Disease Control, Atlanta says about antiviral drugs :
“Antiviral drugs are most often used to control flu outbreaks in institutions, for example in nursing homes, or in hospital wards, where people at high risk (see below) for complications from flu are in close contact with each other. Antivirals also have been used on cruise ships or similar settings to control outbreaks of the flu.

In the event of an outbreak, public health practice is to combine the use of flu vaccine and antivirals. In a nursing home during an outbreak, for example, residents and staff are given the flu vaccine and antivirals to prevent flu until the vaccine takes effect (about 2 weeks). This practice continues as long as influenza is occurring in that setting.

Doctors also can prescribe antivirals for flu to people not living in institutional settings, but treatment must begin within 2 days of the onset of symptoms for it to be effective. Also, while all antivirals lessen the symptoms of illness and shorten the duration of illness, only 1 (oseltamivir) has been shown in a study to reduce some complications requiring antibiotics.

When considering antivirals, it’s important to remember that most healthy people recover from the flu without complications.”

Your body will develop immunity to about 90% of the virii you are likely to encounter. If you have viral fever, WAIT IT OUT. It will go away. Take some paracetamol or aspirin for the pain. Sweat a little to get rid of the fever. If the pain is too much, take some ibuprofen. But basically just wait it out.

My dad took the antibiotic the doc prescribed : Recovery time : 7 days
I , my mom did not take the antibiotic : Recovery time : 7 days

I was not suprised. Are you? I am sometimes amazed with the level of the ignorance people show. One simple Google search and it would be clear. No, but for most of them, CDC who spends time researching millions of cases is wrong. A trove of scientific knowledge is all incorrect. The local doctor, who read medicine books written in the 1920s , is correct. Man, what a world.


Written by Nash

May 25, 2005 at 2:15 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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