To learn how to use antibiotics, one must first learn how not to use antibiotics.


In prehistoric times plants served a therapeutic purpose (herbalism), use of clay and soil is also documented. The first contemporary, pharmaceutical medication developed in 1804 by Friedrich Sertürner, a German scientist. He extracted the main active chemical from opium (plant) in his laboratory and named it morphine, after the Greek ‘god of sleep’. This medication used to relieve severe pain.

However, the modern era of antibiotics initiated with the discovery of penicillin by Sir Alexander Fleming in 1928. Since then, antibiotics have transformed contemporary medicine and protected millions of lives. Penicillin ascertained itself a marvel drug in controlling bacterial infections among World War II soldiers. Antibiotics have also assisted to extend life expectancy.

Nevertheless, before long thereafter, penicillin resistance grew into a considerable clinical problem and by the 1950s, various assistants of the prior decade converted vulnerable. Regrettably, till now, resistance has ultimately been seen to approximately all antibiotics that have been developed. Epidemiological interpretations have validated a direct association between antibiotic intake and the emergence and propagation of resistant microbial strains.


  • Antibiotics  eradicate  drugsensitive  fragments,  leaving  resistant  bacteria  behind  dupli-cate as  a  consequence  of  natural  selection.
  • Resistance can also arise instinctively via mutation. Bacteria can inherit muted genes from relatives or can obtain from nonrelatives on mobile genetic elements such as plasmids.
  • In various countries, antibiotics are free-for-all and handy over the counter even without a prescription. This lack of regulation and extra label drug practice provoked it. Moreover antibiotics that are easily reachable, plenteous and economy friendly, which endorsed its overuse. The competence to acquisition such products online has also made them definitely reachable.

“If we use antibiotics when not needed, we may not have them when they are most needed.”  (Dr. Tom Frieden, Director U.S. CDC)

  • Inaccurately recommended antibiotics have questionable therapeutic benefits and render patients to potential complications of antibiotic therapy. According to an estimate, treatment suggestion, choice of pharmaceutical agent or duration of antibiotic therapy is incorrect in 30% to 50% of cases. Furthermore, 30% to 60% of the antibiotics recommended in intensive care units (ICUs) are inappropriate or suboptimal.
  • Sub-inhibitory and sub-therapeutic antibiotic concentrations can promote the development of antibiotic resistance by supporting genetic alterations. Antibiotics are extensively implicating as growth promoters in livestock. Treating livestock by antimicrobials improves the overall health of the animals, producing loftier vintages and a higher-quality product. The antibiotics consuming in livestock are consumed by humans when they ingest food. Antibiotics casted-off in these food-producing animals kills or suppresses susceptible bacteria, allowing antibiotic-resistant bacteria to thrive, since small quantities of antibiotics have also been revealed to contribute to strain modification. Resistant bacteria transfers to humans via the food supply. These bacteria can cause infections in humans that may lead to adverse health consequences.
  • Antibacterial products traded for sanitary or cleaning dedications also add to this resistance development threat, since it limits the development of immunities to ecological antigens. Subsequently, our immune-system adaptability develops compromised. It probably increases morbidity and mortality due to infections that wouldn’t generally be virulent.


According to estimation antibiotic resistance kills at least 700,000 people each year worldwide. Formulation of new drugs to cope with resistant microbes is another challenge for drug makers. Only about 14% of antibiotics in phase I trials win approval. Furthermore it takes millions of dollars more for marketing and surveillance after approval. As soon as we jump towards a new antibiotic, pathogens start evolving approaches to foil the attack. Now antibiotic development is not considered to be an economically wise investment for the pharmacological companies. Because antibiotics are used for somewhat short periods and are not as gainful as drugs that are used to cure chronic conditions, such as diabetes, asthma etc.

Antibiotic-resistant infections pose a significant health and economic burden on the health care system and population. In some cases, patients request treatment for conditions, for instance, colds. Since viruses are the reason for most colds, when antibiotics are not necessary and will not aid to treat. Surveys reveal that 40% to 75% of adults and children who sought care for viral respiratory tract infections received a prescription for an antibacterial agent. Prescribing antibiotics when they aren’t needed not only fails to help patients but can harm them, since adverse reactions and drug interactions can occur. The inappropriate use of antibiotics also unnecessarily promotes antibiotic resistance.


  • In wake of these distressing circumstances Antibiotic Stewardship Programs (ASPs) was launched it guides all prescribers in managing antibiotics suitably. ASPs involve creating an assurance to usage of antibiotics merely while obligatory, picking the appropriate medicine, and administering the prescription at the apt dosage and duration in each case. Effective execution of ASPs necessitates an interdisciplinary crew, system origination, instructive interference, and feedback delivered to health care staff.  Another suggestion is that the ICU should be a center of consideration for antibiotic stewardship.
  • Doctors should direct towards laboratory tests to approve that bacteria are triggering the infection, as a consequence, an antibiotic would not be recommended unnecessarily.
  • Antibiotics render a fixed course of therapy that involves a specific dose, dosage rate and duration of treatment. Such courses of therapy usually last five to seven days, whereas many last 14 days or extensive.
  • Another effective way to lessen incongruous antibiotic use is to eradicate diagnostic ambiguity. By preventing infection one can considerably decrease resistance by excluding the requisite for antibiotics in the first place. To achieve this objective, one should follow infection-control guidelines established by the health care facility.


Whatever tactics you employ, need of the hour is synchronize determinations to contrivance new policies, renew research efforts, and pursue steps to accomplish the crisis. And also its accomplishment obliges a significant investment of human and economic funds.

Authors: Komal Arif- Student of MPhil Microbiology in University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.  Dr. Muhammad Ashraf- Assistant Professor, Institute of Microbiology, UAF