DOH warns public vs antibiotics misuse
By Connie Calipay LEGAZPI CITY --- The Department of Health in Bicol on Tuesday called on the public not to misuse or overuse antibiotics by taking them without doctor’s prescription or discontinuing use before the specified date. Refraining from misuse or overuse of antibiotics is needed to prevent Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), where microorganisms exposed to antimicrobial drugs, such as antibiotics, develop a resistance to medicines, Maribel Cruz, Pharmacist III of DOH-5, said during a press conference at La Roca Veranda in this city. “The best we could do is to be strict with prescriptions, and conduct more information caravans so we can convince people to change their behavior when it comes to taking antibiotics,” she said. According to Cruz, misusing antibiotics would render medicines ineffective and let infections persist in the body, which can increase the risk of spreading the disease to others. “AMR also threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi,” she added. Cruz said one example of AMR is Multi-Drug Resistant TB (MDRTB) that resists at least four of the core anti-TB drugs, as shown by data from the World Health Organization (WHO). Records from 2017 registered a total of 368 people in Bicol afflicted with MDRTB, mostly males aged 25 to 54. Cruz advised the public to consult a doctor before taking antibiotics, follow and finish the correct regimen when taking medicines, and desist from giving excess antibiotics to others. When coughing or sneezing, cover the mouth to prevent bacteria from spreading, she added. Cruz also reminded the public that drugstores have been told not to dispense antibiotics without prescriptions. To strengthen their thrust of preventing AMR, DOH conducts lectures as part of most of its programs and observes the Philippine Antibiotic Awareness Week in November of each year. Meanwhile, in observance of the Generics Awareness Month this September, Cruz reiterated that the use of bioequivalent or the commonly used term “generic” and innovator or “branded” medicines have the same effect. “Generic medicines are available and it is for the buyer to decide what to choose,” she said.