Antibiotics failing against common infections

Dr Mason Stevenson.
Dr Mason Stevenson. Cade Mooney

THE antibiotic resistance which has given rise to hospital superbugs is now being seen in the fight against common infections on the Sunshine Coast.

Doctors say antibiotics which were routinely used in the treatment of chest infections and urinary tract infections are now proving ineffective.

One doctor said it could take up to three or four different prescriptions before a patient with a common infection began to improve.

Doctor Roger Faint, a Buderim general practitioner and president of the Sunshine Coast Local Medical Association, said antibiotic resistance, once only seen in hospitals, was not being seen in the community.

"Now we're also starting to find that antibiotics for chest infections and pneumonia are becoming more resistant. People aren't responding as well."

"You still try and use the recommended one that you know there's going to be some response to but it depends how unwell they are."

Dr Faint said amoxicillin, commonly used to fight urinary tract infections, was an example of an antibiotic which was not proving as effective as it once was.

How often do you take antibiotics?

This poll ended on 26 October 2016.

Once every few years. - 69%

About once a year. - 23%

Once every few months. - 7%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Coolum GP Dr Mason Stevenson, a past president of the Australian Medical Association Queensland and SCLMA, said he knew of patients who had required three and four prescriptions before responding.

Dr Stevenson said the resistance was a result of the over-use of antibiotics over the years.

He said that despite warnings, there were still people who walked in to see a doctor expecting to be prescribed antibiotics for minor ailments, like a common cold.

Another Coast GP, Dr Wayne Herdy, vice president of the SCLMA said the increase in antibiotic resistance was down to not only the past indiscriminate use of antibiotics, but also the use of antibiotics to improve production in farm animals.

Dr Herdy said many respiratory infections were viral rather than bacterial, which mean that antibiotics were ineffective.

Dr Faint said on the positive side, patients were becoming less demanding when it came to the prescription of antibiotics.

"Over the last 10 years, people don't have that expectation to be given antibiotics like they used to, and parents are more aware as well... They don't want to upset the biome of the body," he said.

Topics:  dr mason stevenson general-seniors-news health infections medical medicine

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