Antibiotic dependence a bitter pill to swallow

Dr Susan Benson.
Dr Susan Benson.

Dr Benson said there was increasing antibiotic resistance both in Australia and around the world, and as part of her fellowship research, she will look into how doctors and patients think about antibiotic resistance and what could be done to change the way people used them.

‘Antibiotics resistance is a natural phenomenon, but I suspect that understanding this more fully will be how we successfully tackle the problem of antibiotic resistance, not by panic and fear,’ she said.

‘Antibiotics have become one of the most common medicines used today and are not just used for treating patients who would otherwise die of infection, but much of the use is for prevention.

‘Humans fear infection and think that by taking antibiotics ‘just in case’ they will have a better chance of being healthy, but this reasoning is fundamentally flawed.’

Dr Benson said one of the best approaches would be to become ‘more measured’ in how the drugs were used.

‘We should be able to clearly discuss with patients and each other the risks and benefits and be able to justify our use.

‘Antibiotic resistance will increase, but we can slow that progression by reconsidering how we use them and also how the organisms ” or even more specifically, the resistance genes ” are spread, not just in hospitals, but in the environment.’