drugstore clerk antibiotics Li Zongxian/ZumaPress

Naar een verstandig gebruik van antibiotica

LONDEN – Om het probleem dat antibiotica-resistentie heet op te lossen heeft de wereld niet alleen dringend behoefte aan nieuwe medicijnen, maar ook aan nieuw gedrag – door alle zeven miljard van ons. Door het misbruik en overmatig gebruik van antibiotica worden algemene infecties als longontsteking en tuberculose steeds resistenter tegen bestaande behandelingen, en in sommige gevallen zijn ze al volledig immuun geworden.

En dit is een dreiging op wereldschaal. Volgens de Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, die ik voorzit, doden medicijnresistente infecties minstens 700.000 mensen per jaar. Tegen 2050 zouden er, wanneer er niets gedaan wordt om dit probleem aan te pakken, zo’n tien miljoen mensen per jaar kunnen sterven aan aandoeningen die eens te behandelen waren.

Het ontwikkelen van nieuwe medicijnen is een belangrijke stap in de gecoördineerde respons tegen antibiotica-resistentie. Maar dit alleen is niet afdoende. We moeten ook de vraag naar antibiotica verminderen en inzien dat ze soms meer kwaad dan goed doen. Volgens een schatting is bijna de helft van alle verstrekte recepten voor antibiotica in de Verenigde Staten ongepast of onnodig. Dus de scherpe stijging in antibiotica-resistentie zou nauwelijks als een verrassing moeten komen.

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