Experts fear that the overuse of antibiotics in the treatment of sore throats will increase drug resistance, when the disease has no cure.
“Many families buy antibiotics every time they have a sore throat, which is very dangerous and can cause antibiotic resistance,” Associate Professor Tran Phan Chung Thuy, Chairman of the Vietnam Association of Otolaryngology, said at a talk on sore throat, on April 5. September 14, and added that misunderstanding about the use of antibiotics in the treatment of acute pharyngitis is one of the leading causes of antibiotic abuse in Vietnam.
Sore throat is a common symptom of pharyngitis caused by upper respiratory tract infection, the average person suffers from two to four times a year. On average, for every 10 cases of viral pharyngitis, 8 cases are not dangerous and go away on their own. A small number of cases remain due to bacterial infections and other causes, which are prescribed by doctors to use antibiotics.
Doctor Nguyen Thi Thu Loan, Medical Director of Reckitt Vietnam, said that choosing drugs in the treatment of respiratory diseases is very important. “People should refrain from using antibiotics unless there is a clear diagnosis of the patient’s infection,” she said.
The doctor advised that instead of arbitrarily taking antibiotics, besides supportive measures such as reducing pain and fever with paracetamol, adding enough water and nutrition, it is possible to use anti-inflammatory pain relievers belonging to the NSAID drug group. This is a group of non-steroidal drugs, including many different active ingredients and has no addictive effect, which relieves sore throat, difficulty swallowing and swelling of the throat.
WHO has given Vietnam is in the group of countries with the highest rate of antibiotic resistance in the world. Map of antibiotic use 2015 by IMS Health also shows that Vietnam belongs to the group of countries that use a lot of antibiotics. While many developed countries use first-generation antibiotics, which are still effective, Vietnam has had to use third- and fourth-generation antibiotics.
“More worryingly, our country has appeared some superbugs that are resistant to all antibiotics,” Ms. Thuy shared. According to the Ministry of Health, antibiotic resistance stems from people’s habit of buying drugs without a prescription. Even doctors use antibiotics for patients inappropriately. Every year, around the world, millions of people die from drug resistance, including 1.4 million children. If resistant, patients need to stay in the hospital longer and mortality increases in all age groups.
Not only in Vietnam, antibiotic abuse is becoming a global problem and leading to drug resistance. According to Ms. Thuy, if this situation continues, antibiotics will become useless in the future and people will face diseases that have no cure. Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that a severe shortage of new antibiotics is threatening efforts to limit the spread of drug-resistant bacteria.
WHO predicts that by 2050, the global cost of antibiotic resistance will reach $100 trillion and cause about 10 million deaths each year. The economic consequences of antibiotic resistance are said to be as severe as the financial crisis.
Therefore, doctors recommend buying and using only prescription antibiotics. Take antibiotics at the right dose, for the right amount of time, and don’t give up halfway when you feel better. Do not use leftover antibiotics from the previous treatment, or other people’s prescription drugs.