The discovery and development of antibiotics improved people’s lives, providing treatments that were more effective than their predecessors. What was once a potentially deadly infection could now be treated with amazing efficacy. Arsenic, a deadly poison in a high dose, was once the only method of treating infection. In small doses arsenic would attack the unwanted bacteria, but this was a precarious scenario. Too much arsenic would have an adverse effect, potentially killing the consumer. Enter the “Age of Antibiotics” as said by Gerard D. Write in his book, The Origins of Antibiotic Resistance and we see drastic improvements in the field beginning in the 1940’s. However, resistance was inevitable from the start.
We need to figure out a way to combat resistance. In the article, What’s old is new: Reconfiguring known antibiotics to fight drug resistance, from the journal Nature Medicine, Shraddha Chakradhar proposes that the way to do that might be by changing current antibiotics. Chakradhar states, “Turning to pre-existing drugs to make antibiotics more effective against drug-resistant strains of well-known pathogens is especially appealing given that no new class of antibiotics has been approved for nearly 30 years.” This argument does not address why no new class of antibiotics have been approved and therefore leaves us wondering, is it perhaps policy that needs to change. Moreover, she states that “drug companies and the US government have invested more than $1 billion combined toward the development of new antibiotics, just within the past decade,” which again screams at a potential flaw in how we go about approving these new antibiotics. According to the UK’s Chief Medical Officer, Sally Davies, there is a, “‘ticking time-bomb’. She says this is because of an overuse of antibiotics and the lack of new drugs coming on stream – no new class of antibiotics has been discovered since 1987,” taken from the Cancer Nursing Practice Journal, written by Nick Triggle.
The approach of “reconfiguring” existing antibiotics does nothing to address the problem with over prescription. Over prescription and misuse is negating any efforts to create stronger more effective drugs. Linda Bren quotes Stuart Levy, M.D., president of the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics. “”The number of bacteria resistant to many different antibiotics has increased, in many cases, tenfold or more. Even new drugs that have been approved are confronting resistance, fortunately in small amounts, but we must be careful how they’re used. If used for extended periods of time, they too risk becoming ineffective early on,”” in her article, Overprescription of Antibiotics Has Led to Resistant Bacteria. Dr. Levy warns us that if we continue to overprescribe, even new drugs will become ineffective.
Bren, L. (2006). Overprescription of Antibiotics Has Led to Resistant Bacteria. In A. Hiber (Ed.), At Issue. Are Americans Overmedicated? Detroit, MI: Greenhaven Press. (Reprinted from FDA Consumer, 2003, September) Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010471213/OVIC?u=rowan&sid=OVIC&xid=04a2ea06
Triggle, N. (2013). Overprescription of antibiotics is a ‘ticking time-bomb’: Chief medical officer points out that cancer patients are at increased risk of infections. nick triggle reports. Cancer Nursing Practice, 12(3), 6-7. doi:10.7748/cnp2013.04.12.3.6.p10926
Coates, A. R. M. (2012;2014;). Antibiotic resistance (1. Aufl. ed.). Heidelberg;New York;: Springer. https://link-springer-com.ezproxy.rowan.edu/book/10.1007%2F978-3-642-28951-4
Chakradhar, S. (2016). What’s old is new: Reconfiguring known antibiotics to fight drug resistance. Nature Medicine, 22(11), 1197-1199. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nm1116-1197
Shlaes, D. M. (2010). Antibiotics: The perfect storm (1st;1; ed.). New York;Dordrecht;: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-90-481-9057-7 https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-90-481-9057-7
Brian N Tse, Amesh A Adalja, Christopher Houchens, Joseph Larsen, Thomas V Inglesby, Richard Hatchett; Challenges and Opportunities of Nontraditional Approaches to Treating Bacterial Infections, Clinical Infectious Diseases, Volume 65, Issue 3, 1 August 2017, Pages 495–500, https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/cix320