Well­ness Arti­cles

Antibi­otics To Bear New Warn­ings

Antibi­otics soon will bear a big new warn­ing that overus­ing them makes them less effec­tive. From the Feb­ru­ary 6, 2003 release of the Asso­ci­ated Press Health News, comes the news that antibi­otics will soon carry a new warn­ing mes­sage man­dated by the US Food and Drug Administration.

The new action was prompted because it has long been known that antibi­otics have been dras­ti­cally overused. Accord­ing to the AP story, the new warn­ing says that doc­tors must be sure a patient is suf­fer­ing a bac­te­r­ial infec­tion, not a virus with sim­i­lar symp­toms, before pre­scrib­ing antibi­otics. The arti­cle notes that all too often, doc­tors pre­scribe antibi­otics for chil­dren with ear­aches caused by viruses, or for adults with colds or viral coughs.

Antibi­otics have no effect on viruses; they only fight bac­te­ria. How­ever, the US gov­ern­ment esti­mates that half of the 100 mil­lion antibi­otic pre­scrip­tions writ­ten in physi­cian offices each year are unnecessary.

One of the rea­sons that the FDA action has become so impor­tant is that bac­te­ria are grow­ing increas­ingly resis­tant to antibi­otics. Many com­mon infec­tions no longer are treat­able with old stand­bys like peni­cillin, and some have become untreat­able by every antibi­otic on the mar­ket. Any­time antibi­otics are used, sur­vivor germs can emerge stronger and spread. It is the overuse of antibi­otics that has lead to the increased resis­tance by bacteria.

The FDA pro­posed the new warn­ings two years ago. They will go into effect Feb. 6, 2004. Unfor­tu­nately, the warn­ings would be only on the drugs’ offi­cial label, and the AP story reports that very few doc­tors read drug labels. Because of this the FDA is work­ing on addi­tional ways to spread their con­cern over the use of antibi­otics, includ­ing future ads aimed at consumers.

Ran­dom Article

Cor­po­rate Crime in the Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Indus­try is a book by Dr John Braith­waite where he describes many exam­ples of cor­po­rate crime in the

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